My question involves labor and employment law for the state of: Michigan
I am aware of "At Will" employment, from which I understand an employer can fire an employee for an reason they choose, as long as it isn't for discrimination, refusing to violate a law, etc. Here is my situation:
As of the end of January 2010, I was eligible for some vacation to use. This vacation would expire by Mar. 31 if I did not use it, and I would not receive pay for this vacation if I did not use it. I asked my manager on 2/8/10 if I could take the following week off, since I was going to lose the vacation soon anyway. He said that would be fine, he had no problems with it. He then told me to turn in the vacation request form to him and he would take care of it. At that point, I figured the vacation form was just to be given to HR so they could remove those days for the vacation that I was about take. That night, I booked a flight for my wife, son and I to go out of state to visit my brother for the week. 3 days later, around 2/11/10, I got an email from my manager stating that my vacation was being denied, because I didnt give 3 weeks notice (which is absolutely ridiculous, considering I was going to lose it at the end of next month anyway). I told my manager that I had already purchased non-refundable tickets for the vacation, because he had verbally approved the vacation. Had he not said that, I would never have purchased the tickets. I told him I could not get reimbursed for these tickets, and I still wanted to use them. He told me I could take the trip, but I would not be paid for the week that I was gone. Nothing was ever mentioned about me possibly being terminated if I took the vacation, because it was denied by HR. I told him that was fine if I did not get paid for that week, and asked him if I needed to let anyone else know about this. He had told me I did not have to let anyone know.
When I returned from our trip on 2/19/10, there was a Fed Ex envelope on my porch. It was a document from HR basically stating I did not report to work on 2/15/10, and that if I did not call HR by 2/18/10 by 12PM, that it would be considering "job abandonment".
Now, how could I call HR and explain the situation by 2/18/10 if I was out of town, and not home to receive the envelope? No emails or voice mails were left on my phone regarding this situation. I returned the office today, 2/22/10, and my manager told me that I "no longer worked there".
How can this be legal considering the vacation had been approved by my manger? I understand it was "verbal", but is this legal, and do I have any kind of case, or this still considered "at will employment" and they can fire for no reason?