Boss Writes Up His Employee After He Misses Work Because His Sister Died

Normalize taking days off.

Employee frustrated at work fizkes / Shutterstock

A working man recently penned a post into the “r/antiwork” to let out some of his grief — considering his job was being less compassionate than a bunch of strangers on Reddit would.

After losing his sister, he decided to call out of work in order to be with his family, but his job decided that they wouldn’t mark it as bereavement leave. Instead, he was told to meet with HR to talk about the amount of work he’d missed.


His boss decided to write him up for missing work after his sister died.

“My sister just died this past Saturday,” he explained in his post. “I called into work to be with my nieces, one of [whom] lives with me. It was a hard day. There was no way I could even try to work like that. This wasn't expected and it still feels unreal. Yesterday my boss wrote me up for attendance.”

Unfortunately, there’s no federal law that requires employers to provide their employees with any form of bereavement leave policy, yet many places offer policies for such occasions. In some cases, they’re taken out of your normal PTO days, but it differs depending on the job.


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In the case of this Redditor, however, his employers went above and beyond to treat him poorly after his sister had just passed. “I've missed in the last 6 months a total of 6 work days plus 1 hour. All from having a stomach bug,” he said, explaining in an update that his day off after his sister's passing would be the sixth.

Boss Writes Up His Employee After He Misses Work Because His Sister DiedPhoto: Sora Shimazaki / Pexels


“Boss told me to contact [the] head of HR today to see if he could do anything,” he continued. “Well second in charge of HR takes my call, I tell him why I missed and about the warning. He just goes ‘Well, [employee], I don't understand. What are you wanting us to do here?’”

The answer is simple: he asked for an ounce of compassion. He wanted his employers to not count his sister’s death against his attendance record at work, which seems like a reasonable task. But that wasn’t even the end of it.

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The icing on the cake was his employers scolding him for getting sick and missing five days of work.

“But that's not our icing yet,” he joked toward the end. “He basically goes on to say there's really no wriggle room, if I hadn't called in those other times we wouldn't be having this conversation — basically scolding me for being sick at this point.”


Now more than ever, Americans are receiving PTO from work but are actually using it less, according to an article from Forbes. Since 2019, PTO has gone up 9%, while the amount that gets used has actually decreased — in 2022, 55% of all PTO went unused.

It’s not hard to understand why PTO doesn’t get used when looking at a situation like this. According to a Zippia survey from August 2022, 61.3% of Americans feel guilty about taking time off work. When it comes to sick days, people are 58% more likely to feel guilty about using those over vacation days.

Creating a toxic work environment where people feel bad for taking the time off they rightfully deserve means we get stories like this one. The employer feels entitled to having the worker come into his job, no matter what.


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Isaac Serna-Diez is an Assistant Editor for YourTango who focuses on entertainment and news, social justice, and politics.