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Allen M., Esq.
Allen M., Esq., Employment Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 18790
Experience:  Employment/Labor Law Litigation
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Hello, I had started a job at John Deere for Volt Services,

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Hello, I had started a job at John Deere for Volt Services, Inc. as a Quality Engineer. I worked two weeks and was off for medical that kept me off of work for 3 weeks. I went back to work, everything was going well. My wife was scheduled for surgery coming up at the end of July, I sent an email to my supervisor, plant representative and to the Volt Management person for John Deere asking for two weeks off so that I could be with and help my wife through this trying time. I asked two weeks in advance of the date I wanted off. I did not get a response from anyone. One week before I was to take off, Volt sent me an email letting me know that my contract was extended for 14 months. I acknowledged this and again asked for the two weeks off. Again no response. When time came, I sent a notice to management again letting them know when I was intending to return. My wife had her surgery and when the worst was over, I was ready to return to work which was shorter than the two weeks I had expected. On the friday before I was going to return to work, I received an email stating that I had been terminated from my position. The next Monday I registered for unemployment, Volt denied my benefits and the State of Illinois agreed with me about my termination and awarded my the unemployment benefits. My question is that if Deere was okay with me to extend my contract with the knowledge of my two weeks leave for my wife, Volt terminated me for absenteeism, when they knew that I wanted off, but did not respond. I believe I should be paid for the extent of the contract from them. Fourteen months, several overtime saturdays at $35 per hour of which was my pay during my contract with them. I want to know if this is something I should persue?
Submitted: 5 years ago.
Category: Employment Law
Expert:  Allen M., Esq. replied 5 years ago.
Thank you for using Just Answer. Between my law practice and other law related jobs, I have over 13 years experience. I look forward to assisting you.

I'm sorry to hear about your situation and I'm glad that you got unemployment here. That being said, unemployment agreeing with you about your termination does not mean that you have a wrongful termination claim. There are two very different standards at play here.

Knowing that you wanted off and approving that time off are not the same thing, in a wrongful termination context. If the contract that was extended with them did not say that you could only be terminated for cause, they would have the ability to terminate without you'd have no wrongful termination claim. Even if the contract did state that you could only be terminated for cause, absenteeism is generally found to be cause.

You weren't there long enough to be covered by the FMLA, so it can't be that sort of claim.

Based on these facts, I do not see that you have anything to pursue here.

Even assuming that I'm wrong (and I do not think that is true), you wouldn't be able to sue for the entire amount of the contract. Rather, you'd be able to sue for the difference between what you would have gotten on the contract and what you get from another job. You'd have to be attempting to find other work or you'd be subject to a defense called 'failing to mitigate damages.' So, knowing this, that really reduces the potential award here, even if you could fashion a wrongful termination claim...which I don't see here.
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