Can an employer issue a verbal warning if an employee useshalf of their sick days?

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Can an employer issue a verbal warning if an employee useshalf of their sick days?

I got a verbal warning from my manager. I’m working as bank teller. I used half of my sick days for this year and she gave me a verbal warning. A verbal warning means I will have a bad recommendation for future growth and opportunity in any branch or banks. Is it legal?

Asked on June 22, 2011 under Employment Labor Law, New York

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

This is most likely legal. If you don't have an employment contract of some kind, you are an employee at will. Since an employee at will may be terminated at any time, for any reason, with or without cause by the employer, the employer may also do anything short of termination, such as give that employee a warning or discipline him or her, at will, for any reason. Therefore, without a contract providing limited grounds for a warning, or setting forth a procedure for warnings which must be followed, you can be given the warning. Two things that may help:

1) Even if you don't have a contract, if you have a *very* firm employee handbook which does not, by it's own terms, limit it's effect (e.g. it doesn't say "this handbook does not form an contract" or "policies may be changed at will" or something like that), it *may* be the case that the handbook creates an implied contract, whose procedures, such as for warnings, must be followed.

2) Since discrimination against protected categories (e.g. race, religion, disabled, age over 40, sex) is not allowed, if you think that the reason *you* are getting this warning is discrimination, you may have a claim.


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