What to do if my employer will not give me 4 days off to travel toout of state for my cousin’s funeral?

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What to do if my employer will not give me 4 days off to travel toout of state for my cousin’s funeral?

Our other manager is in the hospital as well and I understand that coverage is short. Is there any law that says I can get this time off for bereavement? Are they able to fire me? If so, can I then collect unemployment. I work as an assistant store manager for a retail company.

Asked on December 11, 2012 under Employment Labor Law, California

Answers:

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

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

First of all, bereavement leave is typically reserved for an immediate family member (i.e. parent, spouse, child). Additionally, PTO (this includes bereavement leave) is not an automatic benefit of employment; it is a discretionary benefit that an employer may or may not choose to provide. Further, if it is provided, an employer can dictate when and how it is used.

In an "at will" work relationship, an employer can set the terms and conditions of employment much as it sees fit (in turn an employee can choose to work for that employer or not). Absent a union agreement, employment contract or other company policy that allows for such leave time, you are not entitled to take it. Further, you can be terminated if you do and for "cause". That means that you will be ineligable to collect unemployment benefits.

Note: If some form of actionable discrimination has played a role in the denial of your taking bereavement leave, then you may have a case.


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