Sick leave is a fundamental right that ensures employees can prioritize their health without fearing repercussions in the workplace. As long as you have accrued and are entitled to use it, you cannot be legally fired for taking sick leave.
California Laws on Sick Leave
The Healthy Workplaces/Healthy Families Act of 2014
This piece of legislation mandates that most employers in California provide employees who work at least 30 days within a year are entitled to accrue one hour of paid leave for every 30 hours worked. However, employers can limit paid sick leave to three days or 24 hours within one year. Sick leave can be carried over to the following year, but it may be capped at six days or 48 hours.
Employees are allowed to begin using accrued paid sick leave on the 90th day of employment. In addition, employers are required by law to allow eligible employees to use accrued sick leave upon reasonable request. Retaliation or discrimination against an employee who requests or uses paid sick leave is against the law.
The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA)
If you have used your paid sick leave or do not yet have any accrued, your employment may be protected under FMLA. FMLA allows eligible employees to take up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave in a 12-month period for various reasons, including the birth or adoption of a child, the serious health condition of the employee or a family member, and certain military family leave entitlements. When an employee takes FMLA leave, their job (or an equivalent position) must be available when they return. FMLA also allows for intermittent leave or a reduced work schedule in certain circumstances, such as for medical treatments or a serious health condition.
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)
The ADA recognizes that individuals with disabilities may require additional time off for medical reasons, including for treatment, recovery, or managing their condition. Employers covered by the ADA must provide reasonable accommodations to qualified employees with disabilities. This may include allowing them to take additional sick leave beyond what is typically provided to other employees.
Permissible Uses of Paid Sick Leave
California allows employees to use accrued sick leave for their own health condition or to care for a number of other people. Those include a child (biological, adopted, stepchild, or foster), spouse, registered domestic partner, parent, sibling, grandchild, or grandparent. Additionally, employees can take paid sick leave when seeking treatment for a pre-existing health condition.
What Are My Legal Options if I Get Fired for Sick Leave?
If you have been fired for taking sick leave, you have the right to pursue a wrongful termination lawsuit. To initiate a claim, first consult a trusted Los Angeles wrongful termination lawyer. They will evaluate the specifics of your case, including the details surrounding your termination and your adherence to sick leave policies.
They will guide you through the legal process, which may involve gathering relevant documentation, filing a formal complaint, and potentially litigating your case in court. Remedies for wrongful termination can include reinstatement, back pay, and other forms of compensation.