Woman 'Fired From Her Job' After Being Too Upset To Go Into Work When Her Family Dog Died
A Scottish teenager has claimed she was fired from her job at a sandwich shop for gross misconduct after she didn't go into work when her beloved 14-year-old dog died.
Emma McNulty is now campaigning for bereavement leave when employees lose their pets after she was left "disgusted" when her employers allegedly failed to show compassion following the death of her Yorkshire Terrier Millie and told her to find cover for her shift or risk dismissal.
The 18-year-old had messaged her bosses at a local sandwich shop in Baillieston, Scotland at 10am to explain she was too upset to work her 3pm shift - but when Emma failed to find cover her part-time job was terminated.
She told Glasgow Live: "I informed my manager I could not come into work as I was too devastated and physically sick to do so.
"Instead of being shown the compassion and sympathy stated in the contract, I was sent a number of nasty messages and told I had to cover my shift as no bereavement time was allowed for pets.
"I did not go to work that day and I was fired and left unemployed the same day as losing my best friend, this caused me extreme distress and sickness."
When Emma couldn't find a replacement, she claims she was told not to come in for the rest of her shifts that week and was later informed over email that she had been fired due to gross misconduct.
Speaking to the BBC, she added: "I was sacked on the same day as I lost my dog. Milly was 14 and I am 18, so I don't remember a time when she wasn't part of my life.
"We did everything together. I was so close to her and she was my best pal."
At present, Arbitration service Acas states that an employee has the right to time off to deal with an emergency involving a dependant; spouse, partner, child, grandchild, parent or someone who depends on you for care.
However, it isn't clear whether a pet would be included in this. Yet, it is not unheard of for humans to suffer extreme physical symptoms after a pet dies.
The New England Journal of Medicine reported in October 2017 that after her canine companion died, a woman experienced "broken heart syndrome".
The condition is a severe response to grief that the person shows symptoms that mimic a heart attack, including "elevated hormone levels that can be 30 times greater than normal."
In the wake of the furore, she has started a petition asking employers to recognise pet bereavement in the same way as a human family member.
So far, she has reached over 9,500 signatures of the 10,000 needed on her online change.org petition.
The petition reads: "I recently lost my dog, a valued family member and companion, I grew up with her and developed a close relationship that only grew each day.
"I think it's disgusting how some company's think it's acceptable to treat someone in this way with no remorse, a family pet (in my case my dog) has just as much importance as a human family member.
"It's time companies acknowledged this and give people the time they need to grieve with no worry of losing their job."
You can learn more of Emma's petition here.
Featured Image Credit: Emma McNulty