Is it legal if I was fired for being home with my sick 2 year old?

UPDATED: Oct 5, 2010

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Is it legal if I was fired for being home with my sick 2 year old?

I was fired from my job for needing to stay home with my daughter who is 2 and was sick. She has been sick several times over the past year and I have not been home with her every time. I have not even used all of my allowed PTO time. My bosses exact words were, “I’m letting you go because due to your daughter’s health you are unreliable”. There have been many times when I called in to cover or take on extra task’s because of another team members being gone. Is this OK for her to do? Do I have a valid concern or case?

Asked on October 5, 2010 under Employment Labor Law, Washington


M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 12 years ago | Contributor

Unfortunately, if you are what is known as an "employee at will" then you can be fired - or quit - at pretty much any time during your employment and for any reason so long as it is not discriminatory.  Yes, I agree that it does seem discriminatory to be let go for having to care for your child but discrimination is generally based upon age, race, religion or gender.  I would try and call your boss and see if you can meet with her on the matter and see if there is any way that you can come to an agreement as to your using your personal time off for the day in question and be reinstated to your job.  That does not seem unreasonable.  Do you have a personnel or human resource department?  Is there a handbook?  Does it address these issues at all?   If there is and they do then you may want to bring them to an employment attorney in your area.  Good luck.

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