is it legal for and employer to deny leave to visit a dieing grandparent

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is it legal for and employer to deny leave to visit a dieing grandparent

I was working in Afghanistan and had a grandparent become very ill, the only choice my company gave me to visit was to quit.

Asked on March 18, 2016 under Employment Labor Law, North Carolina

Answers:

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

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

Actually, this is legal. At least if such an action does not violate the terms of any applicable union agreement or employment contract. Also, it must not constitute some form of legal ly actionable discrimination. That having been said, if you have PTO (e.g. vacation time), you could use that, otherwise you are out of luck. Even if you had to leave in order to take care of your grandparent (versus visiting them), you would not be covered by the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) since parents but not grandparents are covered (also other eligibility requirements may or may not be met). Bottom line, in an "at will" work relationship, an employer can set the conditons of the workplace much as it sees fit. This includes who does or doesn't get leave time to visit a gravely ill relative.


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