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Can a company terminate an employee in NY for breaking a rule that's not in the employee handbook?

Syracuse, NY |

My g/f was recently let go from a job with the employer stating that it was because you are unable to take days off within the first 90 days of employment. She took two days off for her grandfather's funeral. She looked in the handbook and found nothing stating anything about the 90 day rule, on top of looking for rules she may have broken. She found no rules that she broke. Is this legal?

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Attorney answers 2


At a minimum your gf is more than likely eligible for unemployment compensation since she did not violate a clearly articulated and written rule. She may want to request her personnel file and make sure she has the most up-to-date handbook.

Check with a local employment attorney who will be more familiar with NY employment laws.


Unfortunately, there is no law to protect an employee from getting fired for attending a family funeral. But I do not think they would want to be known as a company that does that. Instead of a lawyer, have her get a letter from a clergy member asking for consideration to take her back, and send it to Human Resources. A smart PR campaign might just get them to reconsider.

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