How can I contest a write-up for missing work if I was trying to see a doctor?

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How can I contest a write-up for missing work if I was trying to see a doctor?

I called out of work on Saturday (2 hours before) and was trying to see a walk-in doctor but they closed early. I called my boss to let her know I would not have a doctor’s note and she refused to call the clinic to verify they are closed. She wants to write me up to eventually fire me although they do not provide me health insurance. I work full-time and have never called out prior to this and have been with the company for 2 years. I do have documentation (parking slip), phone records, attendance record, to prove the time, my location, and work ethic. They will refuse me unemployment.

Asked on June 29, 2011 under Employment Labor Law, California

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

First, if you have an employment (or union) contract which has terms covering grounds or procedure for  termination, you may only be fired in accordance with those terms. On the other hand, if you don't have such a contract (including a union agreement covering your position), you are an employee at will and may therefore, unfortunately, be fired at any time, for any reason, including a mistaken or bad reason or no reason at all. Therefore, if you are an employee at will, your supervisor may, from a legal perspective, terminate you for this or any other reason.

Second, if there is a workplace policy re: calling in and you complied with that policy and can prove it, you should at least be able to prove you were not improperly absent and did not violate workplace policy and therefore were not fired for cause (if you are in fact terminated); i.e. you should be able to get unemployment. If there is no workplace policy allowing call ins (or there is  a policy, but you did not comply with it), then unless you properly used sick or personal time, it may be that what you did was improper absenteesm or violation of company policy and you can be fired for cause. Note that the law does not generally require employers to allow time off for doctor visits.


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