Buffalo, NY asked in Employment Discrimination and Employment Law for New York

Q: can i get fired for takin my 30 minute unpaid break?

i let my supervisor know a week in advance that i would have to leave work due to a personal reason and she okayed it. fast forward a week i i got the phone call at work for the reason of me leaving and i told my boss that i had to leave and she okayed it again. So i clocked out and started my 30 minute unpaid lunch to take care of it. driving back into work i get a phone call from her boss and he’s telling me he’s very mad at me and that it was an unacceptable time to leave (i left around noon). Trying to explain to him the reasoning for it and that it got okayed by my supervisor he kept cutting me off and eventually told me to take the rest of the day off and that he would sit down and talk to me about this matter next time I am in. Can I get fired for this? How should I handle this?

1 Lawyer Answer
V Jonas Urba
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  • Employment Law Lawyer
  • Licensed in New York

A: A personal reason may or may not be protected. For example, if the personal reason was to take your child to a doctor's appointment that is almost always protected. This is just one example.

If the personal reason was unprotected then your employer's policies and procedures might covet you if you are not treated as others who were given time off. Assuming your reason was totally unprotected and your business is short-staffed or pressed for workers then giving you time off for that reason may set a precedent. For example "he got time off to have a new set of tires on his car and I need new belts on my car so I am being discriminated because he is X and I am Y and I heard that manager call us blank once so this supports discrimination.

Of course maybe her supervisor is just looking for any reason to fire you. You told the immediate supervisor one reason and now you meet with her boss and state a different reason. Not being truthful does often get employees fired. It's an east way to get rid of someone as long as the way it's done is not discriminatory. How? Let's assume that no one else is ever questioned about personal reasons but her boss does not care for a protected class to which you belong because maybe you heard them make a comment. Now, you are the only one being questioned about a personal reason. But on the other hand, lets assume you have a pending work comp claim and the insurer has surveillance. You provide inconsistent reasons and they let you go for fraud. It all depends.

You have to be honest. But if you lose your job despite that call some employment lawyers to review your facts privately, in depth.

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