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Teen Starts Petition After Getting Fired For Requesting Pet Bereavement Leave

mason.zimmer 15 Aug 2019

Nowadays, you've likely noticed that a lot more of your friends with pets like referring to them as "fur babies."

Although a beloved pet has long been recognized as a part of its family, this modern phrasing makes it abundantly clear how much pet owners really care for them.

Unfortunately, that care doesn't lessen nature's seeming capacity for cruelty and it's sadly true that the day will come when our pets are no longer with us.

This can inspire a powerful period of mourning among pet owners and despite the popularity of this "fur parent" rhetoric, it seems that some people will still underestimate how intense that mourning can be.

Up until Saturday, 18-year-old Emma McNulty of Glasgow, Scotland worked for a sandwich shop franchise.

Facebook | Emma McNulty

As the BBC reported, she had spent most of her life with her 14-year-old Yorkshire Terrier, Millie and described the dog as her "best pal."

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So when Millie sadly passed away on Saturday, McNulty was devastated to the point of being physically sick.

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According to Glasgow Live, she informed her employer of this at 10 am and let them know she wouldn't be able to make her 3 pm shift.

She also said that the wording of her contract led her to believe she could expect some degree of compassion and sympathy in a situation like this.

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Instead, she said she received "a number of nasty messages" telling her it was her responsibility to find someone to cover her shift.

Facebook | Emma McNulty

As Glasgow Live reported, she attempted to do as her manager said without success, whereupon she was apparently told not to bother coming in for the rest of the week.

Later that day, she received an email informing her she had been fired for "gross misconduct."

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As unsympathetic as her employer's response was, it was technically legal.

Facebook | Emma McNulty

Although the BBC reported that U.K. employees have the right to time off to deal with an emergency involving a dependent, this only applies to spouses, partners, children, grandchildren, parents, or other humans who depend on their care.

While employers are certainly encouraged to provide paid or unpaid time off in the event of a pet's death, they have no legal obligation to do so.

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For this reason, McNulty has launched a petition on Change.org calling for employers to recognize pet bereavement as they do for human family members.

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As she wrote, "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 company’s acknowledged this and give people the time they need to grieve with no worry of losing their job."

At the time of this writing, the petition has over 6,900 signatures and is gaining new ones by the minute.

If you'd like to support this cause, the petition is available here.

h/t: Glasgow Live, BBC

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