Is abandonment sufficient grounds for ‘termination for cause’?

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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Is abandonment sufficient grounds for ‘termination for cause’?

Admittedly, I made a mistake and failed to show up for work for a period of time.
I was battling some severe symptoms of mental health at no point disclosed with
my employer and since my company was small enough to not participate in FMLA, I
didn’t think it was worth bringing up. Anyway, I received a letter saying I was
‘terminated for cause’ due to this abandonment, but I was always under the
impression abandonment is considered resignation.

Do I have grounds to ask the HR personnel to state my reason for leaving as
resignation instead of termination for cause? I’m young and I know I made a bad
decision, but it seems unfair any future employment opportunities be jeopardized
because of a mental illness I’m finally getting control of.

Asked on May 30, 2018 under Employment Labor Law, Utah


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

You failed to show up for work: that can be taken as resignation (i.e. resigning by action, not words), or it can be taken that you don't want to leave the job permanently but don't understand that you don't get to set your own schedule, and so have provided grounds for termination for cause. There is no right or wrong answer as to how to characterize employment ending because an employee doesn't show for work; it is subjective, and up to how the employer views it. You can discuss with them changing how they have recorded it or describe it to others but beause it may legitimately be viewed either way, you can no legal grounds to force them to change how they describe or characterize it.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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