If report absence to employer daily due to caring for ill mother, is this viewed as job abandonment?

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If report absence to employer daily due to caring for ill mother, is this viewed as job abandonment?

My mother feel ill about 3 weeks ago. I reported my absence daily via email using work email. My supervisor sent texts to my personal cell phone about meetings. They also sent work emails expressing concern about my absence. I responded with an email stating that I have documents to verify my absence and I would be absent that day. I am a union member but my union has not not helpful. This supervisor is a former grievance chair in the union but has intimidated, bullied and mistreated me as a co-worker.

Asked on December 1, 2016 under Employment Labor Law, Louisiana

Answers:

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

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

Unless you used PTO (i.e. sick days or vaction time), there is no inherent right for an employee to take off from their job duties, even if it is to care for an ill family member. The fact is that in an "at will" work relationship, a company can set the condtions of the workplace much as it sees fit. Accordingly, absent an employment contract/union agreement to the contrary, or some form of legally actionable discrimination being the reason for your treatment, is was perfectly permissable.

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

It does not matter that you reported your absences or had a good reason: if you were absent from work without using paid time off (e.g. sick leave) for it, this was an unauthorized absence and, subject to any discipinary process or procedures in your union contract (the employer must follow the terms of a union agreement), you can be terminated (or if the employer chose instead, and the union agreement permits, demoted, suspended, pay cut, etc.) for it. There is no legal right to take time off to care for your mother, so if you did not use paid time off, you can be sanctioned for this.


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