If I got fired for using unplanned vacation to see my dying father-in-law in the hospital, is that wrongful termination?

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If I got fired for using unplanned vacation to see my dying father-in-law in the hospital, is that wrongful termination?

Over the weekend my father in law was hospitalized and we were told he was not going to make it, so I called in wanting to use unplanned vacation. I was called into work and was told that I lied to the company saying it was my real father so I was fired. I also feel I was singled out from all other employees about attendance. Do you think I have a case?

Asked on March 28, 2012 under Employment Labor Law, Arizona

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

If you do not have an employment contract, you are an employee at will. An employee at will may be fired at any time, for any reason, not specifically made illegal. The law does not require employers to provide leave to see a dying father-in-law (not even the Family and Medical Leave Act does that--it does not apply to in-laws); the law also does not require employers to allow employees to take vacation days at will, without planning. Furthermore, the law allows employers to terminate employees who lie to the employer, including about the reason for leave or an unplanned vacation. Therefore, from what  you write, what the company did may be cruel and unfair, but if you did not have an employment contract protecting your employment, it is legal.


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