If I was fired becauseI needed the whole day off, do I have grounds for wrongful termination?

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If I was fired becauseI needed the whole day off, do I have grounds for wrongful termination?

My ex-boss fired me becase I couldn’t come into work on a day that I had requested off in order to attend court for my divorce. Earlier that week she had asked me only a day prior to come in 2 hours early for my shift. I told her I could not because I already had a doctor’s appointment. She wanted me to miss my appointment but I told her I would not. As a result, she said I could not have the whole day off on my court date. I told her that I would come in afterwards if I could. When I contacted her saying that I could not make it to work (I had to meet with my lawyer) she chose to fire me.

Asked on July 18, 2011 under Employment Labor Law, Washington

Answers:

M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

Did you have an employment or union contract that provided otherwise? Was this a direct violation of existing company policy (check your employee handbook if you have one)? Was this action taken as a result of some form of actionable discrimination? If your answer is no to those questions then your employer was within its legal rights. As an "at will" employer, a business can dictate the terms of employment much as it sees fit. This includes deciding if and when time is to off to be allowed. And unfortunately it also includes if and when an employee is to be terminated (with or without notice). That's the law.


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