A woman says she was fired from her job as a custodian at a Houston public school after she took time off to take care of her husband who had been hospitalized with cancer and later died.
Consepcion Zapata says she worked a custodian at the Heights High School in Houston for over 15 years when her husband fell ill from liver cancer and she asked for time off.
Her husband died only two weeks after being hospitalized.
To make things worse, Zapata’s mother had also passed away only a few months previously.
“I lost my mom in March and my husband in September of this year. She had a stroke and my husband, he had cancer,” she explained in an interview with KRIV-TV.
She said she took off 20 days after his hospitalization and death.
“I was his wife. I had to be there to sign papers and everything,” she said.
She said she returned to work the Monday after his funeral. On Tuesday, she was informed that she had violated the district’s policy on high-absenteeism when she took off more than 15 days. They said she was to be fired from her job.
She was only one year away from retirement.
“I never miss work. I’m always there. So, I think it’s not fair what they’re doing to me,” Zapata said.
She claims that she had gotten the approval from her supervisor for the time-off requests and that she had accrued over 400 hours of time off because of her tenure.
“I have the copies where they approved my days. I’ve got everything,” said Zapata.
The policy on high-absenteeism was newly implemented in November, and she says she had not been informed about it.
KRIV said they questioned Jessica Neyman, the chief human resource officer for HISD, for 40 minutes about the district’s policies with respect to Zapata’s firing.
“We actually lawfully could engage in immediate termination of at-will employees,” Neyman said, “which includes the employee cohorts that you mentioned, such as bus drivers and nutrition service workers, and a myriad of support staff on campuses. We choose not to.”
Zapata is seeking to appeal the decision and says she is hiring an attorney.
Here’s a news report about the incident:
Like Blaze News? Bypass the censors, sign up for our newsletters, and get stories like this direct to your inbox. Sign up here!