Lost Job Due to Family Emergency

A reader writes…

I recently lost my job due to a family emergency, I tried to tell my employer what was going on and they said if I didn’t go into work then it would be a “no call no show.” To be honest, it would have been impossible for me to get to work that day.

They told me I was fired and then the next day they called me and asked my why I didn’t go in that day as well.  I told them they fired me the day before so they got me for 2 “no call no shows!”

 I was very confused. I have 4 children and a wife and I have been looking everywhere and no luck, any suggestions?

Dear “Emergency Absence,”

This sounds like a very unfortunate situation, and I am sorry to hear it is happening to you.  From your story, my first impression is that your employer is being unreasonable and lacking internal communication.  Was the person who called you the next day the same person you spoke to initially?  Sounds like a complete miscommunication and misunderstanding.  No wonder you’re confused!

It’s true that several businesses maintain a strict “no call no show” policy, but in your case, it sounds like you DID call.  You state that you “tried to tell (your) employer what was going on,” but did you actually speak to someone?  

From my experience, all employees are entitled to reasonable time off to deal with emergency situations (particularly involving a dependant).  Now, this could mean UNPAID time off, but in many cases, your job is still protected.  It’s tough for me to know your situation or what the “family emergency” entailed.  If you needed to attend a wedding and decided you could not make it into work… that’s probably not going to fly.  But if a child, spouse, or someone you are responsible for needed urgent medical assistance (for example)… that typically constitutes an excused absence.  Every company is different, and it sounds like you’re moving on.

You may have seen me suggest temporary staffing in some of my previous posts, but it’s the first thought that comes to mind for your immediate needs as well.  With a family to support, you need a quick fix, even if it’s short term while searching for a full-time position.  Staffing services such as Select Staffing often have temp-to-hire positions available as well (in a wide variety of industries).
Take a look at www.selectstaffing.com.

Now, keep in mind, you will be required to provide at least 2 employment references.  Given the not-so-positive end to your last job, you may need to drum up some alternative references and clearly explain the unfair situation that you shared with me.  Otherwise, you may be able to utilize another contact from your previous employer (not involved with your termination) but who can vouch for your work ethic, etc.

Readers… anyone else encounter a similar situation?


2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. emtgal
    Jan 07, 2011 @ 15:42:56

    I am sorry to hear that, you may want to consult your local Human Relations Council to see if they can help.



  2. Hal Bes
    Jan 05, 2011 @ 15:33:24

    Any kind of termination, for Family Leave Emergency, can be won in a court of law. It is wrongful termination.



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Anita Clew's blog posts are intended for general guidance and should never be taken as legal advice. In all instances where harassment, inequity, or unfair treatment is believed to be present, please consult your HR Department or legal representation.
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