Fired for being late from Vacation?

By Jack Tuckner, Esq.

So the question is: you are away on vacation, or away on a trip, and missed your flight coming back home, and were fired because you got to work late, a day or two, or three or a week or an hour past when you were due back. Is that legal?

And the short answer is unfortunately, yes. If your employer wants to fire you because you came back a day late from vacation, for example, your employer can fire you because they can fire you whenever they want for any reason they want, or no reason at all, to begin with – unless you have a contract, or a union that sets out certain progressive discipline rules that would prevent them from doing that, but most of the time, they can do whatever they want, anytime they want, except for illegal reasons.

So, for example, in this same… if you are fired because you came back late from vacation, but let’s say on vacation you fell ill, and that’s why you were late coming back to work, that would be different, and the argument would be, that would be illegal discrimination because it would be disability discrimination if you were sick, and didn’t get back to work for a period of time. Because your employer would need to accommodate that, would need to be more flexible with you simply because you had an actual disability. I am assuming that you were in fact really sick and may even need to prove that. But that would be the distinction, otherwise you’re probably out of luck.