Job, Grandma Passing and Firing?

Updated on November 01, 2011
A.M. asks from Albany, CA
15 answers

My husband missed a week of work because last Saturday his grandma (who he was very close to) became seriously ill and the doc said she was not going to make it. He called in told his boss and told him to call if he needed anything, but he is worried if they can fire him. He has worked there only 6 months, and they do give 3 day grievance. It's just he missed an additional 2 days and they have a strict attendance policy. She did pass away on Tuesday night, and the funeral was on friday. His family needed him and we were 4 hours away... Should he be worried? What do I do if they fire him?

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answers from Appleton on

If they fire him for going to his grandma while she was dying and stayed to attend the funeral; who cares? Seriously, I wouldn't want to work for a company that was so uncaring.

If he is fired he should be able to collect unemployment.

4 moms found this helpful

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answers from Minneapolis on

Any company can fire any of us for any or no reason with no warning. That's how the laws in this country work. But, most companies do not want to take on the expense and trouble of firing employees for little reason and then having to replace them. As others have said, the more your husband communicated with his boss during last week the better. And I would encourage him to offer to make up some of the time by working extra this week.

If they fire him, he applies for unemployment and starts looking for a new job.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Portland on

Don't be worried. There is nothing you can do at this point. Worry only adds to your misery. What will be will be. There is a saying, "don't count your chickens until they hatch." Don't count your worries until you know what will happen because you can do nothing to change the course of action.

I suggest it's unlikely that they will fire him. I also suggest that he should take the death certificate in when he goes back to work, tho he may not be able to get a copy that quickly. Hopefully he kept them up to date as time went on. i.e. he didn't just talk to them the first day. That would help them feel that he was concerned about work. It's mostly just a courtesy thing, however.

Again, another saying, "don't borrow trouble." He should go into work with the assumption that he still has a job. His positive attitude could make a difference.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Youngstown on

If they decide to fire him, there is nothing you can do. If you are worried, he should call his boss and just 'check in'. I'm sure he can get a feeling if he needs to worry or not. I assume he told his boss that he would be missing 5 days of work.

I am sorry for his loss.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Redding on

I had been at a company for 10 years and immediately left work one morning to be with my grandmother while she was on her death bed. I was gone for 4 days, she passed on my third day there. I brought back the death certificate, but still got fired for not following proper protocol for a leave of absence. This was even after speaking to my superiors prior to leaving and during my absence. The HR office told me that they would love to keep me but since I didnt fill out the paper work prior to leaving it would affect the other employees (nosy people that seem to know everything) and they just couldnt let me get away with leaving the way I did.
IF he gets fired you can try to fight it, but I'm sure the employee handbook covers them, ours did.
Getting fired wasnt a bad thing tho, my life is so different now, and I chalk it up to "it was meant to be".

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Providence on

I don't think they would fire him due to a family member passing away. They might have him subtract his time off until he adds more to his sick days/time off/earned time , or how ever they do it. They give the three days for grievance, so I wouldn't worry. If needed he can always bring in the death certificate.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Las Vegas on

If he is a good employee and rarely misses work it shouldn't be a big deal. Texas is a right to work state so they can fire you for just about any reason that isn't prohibited by law..for example they can't fire him for his race, religion, and certain disabilities. If he is fired than you can see if he qualifies for unemployment while he looks for another employer. Most places do list the grandmother under the grievance policy. It isn't likely that you will have any kind of lawsuit against the company if they do fire him.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Waco on

As others have said, yes, they can fire him. Texas is a right to work state and the basic rule of Texas employment law is employment is "at will". That basically means that, unless you have some sort of defined contract (say teaching for example), either party can modify the terms or conditions of employment or terminate the relationship altogether at any time. If he works for a company that has over 50 employees then he could qualify for FMLA, however, FMLA is generally defined for most employers as the care of an immediate family member (spouse, child, parent; unless otherwise specified in the company's handbook) and only applies after you have been employed for one year. All that said, ask your husband to review what is defined in his handbook. Hopefully he has been keeping in good contact with his employer and communicating about what is going on. I find that most employers are reasonable and as long as you are communicating and haven't gone completely MIA, then they are usually pretty understanding. At the end of the day, though, if they choose to fire him, they can. To answer your question, "What do I do if they fire him?", the only thing you can do is be supportive.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Victoria on

I am so sorry for the loss of your grandmother. I would try your best not to be stressed about that at all. If its a good place to work then they will understand. If your husband can have him suggest some extra hours over the weekend or staying late to make up for those missed days. Show up early to work and be prepaired. Most jobs are understanding when it comes to a death or a close realitiave becoming ill and dying ! I would be totally shocked if they did not understand. Have him call his work and let them know he will be there what ever day it is!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

I am so sorry for your loss!!! I know how hard that is to lose someone so close to you.
I don't know about your state, but CA is at at will state--they can fire you for basically any reason. I wouldn't worry too much about it--- Worrying won't help. If he is really concerned, have him start job hunting just in case. GL


1 mom found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

In Tx they can fire him for any reason and they do not have to state the reason for fireing. I would be careful. Bring in a copy of the death certificate and make sure to take those two days unpaid.



answers from Amarillo on

He can be fired without them giving him a reason here in Texas. If their attendance policy states that he has X amout of days of berevement pay for a loss of a grandmother, then those are the days that he will get paid off, any days after that are unpaid. They may write him up for attendance if he is past their probationary period, but they could also get him for a policy violation which with most companies is immediately terminable. If they terminate his employment for a policy violation, then he won't be able to collect unemployment, even with the fact that he was fired and didn't quit. I fight unemployment claims all the time of behalf of my employer and if it's a policy violation, attendance or otherwise, the unemployment commission finds in favor of the employer.

That being said, if I were in his shoes, I would have gone too. Family comes first. I hopped a plane to CA when my grandmother was on her death bed and I was at my last comany about a year. I just made immediate plane reservations without talking to my boss and left. Sometimes you just do what you've gotta do. If they terminate him, then there is something else out there. It might be a blessing in disguise that this was not the place for him to be.

Good luck A.!



answers from Houston on

At my job we have a strict attendance policy but anyone who is caring for a sick relative or is sick themselves and has a doctors note gets a pass. Have your husband talk to his supervisor, if they need documentation see if he can get something form his grandmothers doctor that verifies she was in his care before passing. Almost all physicians/hospitals have a "return to work" slip that they can give relatives or patients for their employer.

They can fire him but unless they are total jackasses they probably won't. The good news is that if they do fire him they will have a very tough time proving cause to the TX workforce so your husband can file for unemployment while looking for a new job, and I can almost guarantee it will not be denied. (Medical documentation will prove there was no cause.)

Good luck and try not to stress about it. If they fire him over this then he probably will be better off finding a more empathetic employer!



answers from Charlotte on



answers from Houston on

Technically, they can fire him if they want to be like that depending on their policies. Usually, in order to qualify for death benefits, it has to be an immediate family member (parent/spouse, sibling/child/legal guardian or dependent). However, some companies have less strict policies, so it would be very wise for him to look at his employment packet or call HR to see what the rules are so he can be prepared. If is his fired and it is within his companies rights, then you he will most likely qualify for unemployment while he job searches. Hopefully they don't fire him, I really think it unlikely they would. Did he call to update the boss ever and give him an idea of his return? The more he communicated with his work, the better his chance is. It would be a good idea for him to return to work with the funeral program and obituary, my work required that as proof when my father died.

This information is from a lawyer sire: "If you have been fired without a good reason or in violation of federal or state law (e.g., discrimination), this could be a wrongful discharge and you can challenge your firing. However, before you take action, run your complaint by an attorney for advice because it is likely to be time consuming and costly, and the laws regulating firings vary from state-to-state. But if you succeed, employers can be made to pay back wages, fines, and possible punitive damages or you can be returned to your job."

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