How JustAnswer Works:
  • Ask an Expert
    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional Answer
    Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site.
    Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
    Rate the answer you receive.
Ask Allen M., Esq. Your Own Question
Allen M., Esq.
Allen M., Esq., Attorney
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 18406
Experience:  Lawyer and legal specialist.
Type Your Legal Question Here...
Allen M., Esq. is online now
A new question is answered every 9 seconds

I requested an emergency leave of absence due to a family emergency

Customer Question

I requested an emergency leave of absence due to a family emergency (my mother in-law had a heart attic and died shortly after my arrival) out of the country. I had a meeting with my Manager and HR and we agreed on the following…..
I requested to be out of the office from January 15, 2010 through February 5, 2010 and to return to work on the following Monday February 8, 2010
It was agreed that I would deplete all 80 hrs of my 2010 vacation during my leave of absence. It was also agreed that I did not have any sick time and my Boss is allowing me to use the six days of sick leave pre-accrual for this leave of absence.

While I was away from the company, I have spoken to a friend of mine who also work for the same company who informed me that I had been replaced and I would not have a job when I return. When I returned on Monday February 8, 2010 I was given a notice of termination of employment effective the close of business Friday, February 5, 2010 with no reason given to me… fact, my replacement started work on February 1, 2010

Please let me know you thoughts and is this legal for the company to do what they did????
Submitted: 6 years ago.
Category: Legal
Expert:  Allen M., Esq. replied 6 years ago.
Regrettably, there will not be an easy basis for a law suit if there is any at all.

The reason is that the leave that you were taking, while very understandable, was not a legally protected form of leave. Therefore, there are not federal protection for the leave. They also are not required to give a reason for termination.

The only potential legal basis for a claim against their behavior would be an oral contract of some type or perhaps promissory estoppel.

For the oral contract, the problem is that unless you were promised something more than "at will" employment, the promise was really illusory. At will employment can be terminated at any time without reason, so if their promise did not include some statement that you could not lose your job, it wouldn't be a useful promise in which to base a contract on.

For the promissory estoppel, you could claim that you relied on their promise to your detriment, but this claim has little following in Texas (it is not statutory, but case law based) and, even if you won, the claim's value would be limited by what you employment status will employment.

Finally, in either type of claim the expense is going to fall to you. This is not the type of claim that the EEOC or some other government agency would champion for you. You'll have to hire an attorney locally to do trial work. A trial by a cheap attorney can easily hit $20,000.00.

Edited by Jagcorps_esq on 4/4/2010 at 5:18 AM EST
Customer: replied 6 years ago.
There is a memo/letter that we both agreed and signed. will that make a difference?
Expert:  Allen M., Esq. replied 6 years ago.
It's certainly more helpful than an oral agreement, but what will matter is whether or not that agreement took away the rights of the employer to terminate or limited them in some way. That is the only way to break employment at will.

Even if it does though, that doesn't change this to an EEOC issue. It's still just a contract issue that would require you to front the bill. If you want you can take that agreement to an attorney for review to see if they'd consider it anything other than a statement of "at will" employment.
Allen M., Esq., Attorney
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 18406
Experience: Lawyer and legal specialist.
Allen M., Esq. and 3 other Legal Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 6 years ago.

It’s more trouble then it worth…..I guess it’s better not to burn any bridges. Thanks for your help..

Kind Regards,


Expert:  Allen M., Esq. replied 6 years ago.
No problem. Sorry I couldn't give you better news and I'm sorry that your employer behaved so heartlessly.

Tell any future employers exactly what they did. Take the written agreement with you as proof.

JustAnswer in the News:

Ask-a-doc Web sites: If you've got a quick question, you can try to get an answer from sites that say they have various specialists on hand to give quick answers... seen a spike since October in legal questions from readers about layoffs, unemployment and severance.
Web sites like
...leave nothing to chance.
Traffic on JustAnswer rose 14 percent...and had nearly 400,000 page views in 30 days...inquiries related to stress, high blood pressure, drinking and heart pain jumped 33 percent.
Tory Johnson, GMA Workplace Contributor, discusses work-from-home jobs, such as JustAnswer in which verified Experts answer people’s questions.
I will tell you that...the things you have to go through to be an Expert are quite rigorous.

What Customers are Saying:

  • Mr. Kaplun clearly had an exceptional understanding of the issue and was able to explain it concisely. I would recommend JustAnswer to anyone. Great service that lives up to its promises! Gary B. Edmond, OK
< Previous | Next >
  • Mr. Kaplun clearly had an exceptional understanding of the issue and was able to explain it concisely. I would recommend JustAnswer to anyone. Great service that lives up to its promises! Gary B. Edmond, OK
  • My Expert was fast and seemed to have the answer to my taser question at the tips of her fingers. Communication was excellent. I left feeling confident in her answer. Eric Redwood City, CA
  • I am very pleased with JustAnswer as a place to go for divorce or criminal law knowledge and insight. Michael Wichita, KS
  • PaulMJD helped me with questions I had regarding an urgent legal matter. His answers were excellent. Three H. Houston, TX
  • Anne was extremely helpful. Her information put me in the right direction for action that kept me legal, possible saving me a ton of money in the future. Thank you again, Anne!! Elaine Atlanta, GA
  • It worked great. I had the facts and I presented them to my ex-landlord and she folded and returned my deposit. The 50 bucks I spent with you solved my problem. Tony Apopka, FL
  • Not only did he answer my Michigan divorce question but was also able to help me out with it, too. I have since won my legal case on this matter and thank you so much for it. Lee Michigan

Meet The Experts:

  • Tina



    Satisfied Customers:

    JD, BBA Over 25 years legal and business experience.
< Last | Next >
  • Tina's Avatar



    Satisfied Customers:

    JD, BBA Over 25 years legal and business experience.
  • Ely's Avatar


    Counselor at Law

    Satisfied Customers:

    Private practice with focus on family, criminal, PI, consumer protection, and business consultation.
  • JPEsq's Avatar



    Satisfied Customers:

    Experience as general attorney, in house counsel, SSDI, Family Law attorney, and law professor
  • Law Educator, Esq.'s Avatar

    Law Educator, Esq.


    Satisfied Customers:

    JA Mentor -Attorney Labor/employment, corporate, sports law, admiralty/maritime and civil rights law
  • FiveStarLaw's Avatar



    Satisfied Customers:

    25 years of experience helping people like you.
  • Guillermo J. Senmartin, Esq.'s Avatar

    Guillermo J. Senmartin, Esq.


    Satisfied Customers:

    7+ years of experience handling various legal matters.
  • Dimitry K., Esq.'s Avatar

    Dimitry K., Esq.


    Satisfied Customers:

    Multiple jurisdictions, specialize in business/contract disputes, estate creation and administration.

Related Legal Questions