Your Rights To File Sick Leaves, Employee Rights, And Protections Against Discrimination
In California, asking "Can I be fired for being sick?" will get you a complicated answer. However, if you're asking to find out if you have enough grounds to file Employment Law Claims in California, we should look at specific situations where you do and do not have a viable Wrongful Termination Claim.
Special Considerations: At-Will Employment In California
An "at-will" employees work at the discretion of their employers. California is an "at-will" state, which means that this type of employment is allowed.
If you work as an "at-will" employee, your employer has the legal right to fire you at any time and without cause. Similarly, you can also choose to quit or stop working for them at any time. At-will work does not have a formal contract, so there won't be any contract breach claims and violations when your employer simply fires you for no reason.
So, if your employers believe you're calling in sick too frequently at work, then they might have the right to fire you for doing so.
Short answer: yes, your boss can fire you for calling in sick too often. However, they still cannot fire you for illegal reasons, such as discrimination, FMLA violations, and whistleblower discrimination and retaliation.
According to state law, employees in California are entitled to paid sick days at a rate of no less than one hour every 30 hours worked. However, your boss is still allowed to question you about why you're taking a sick day, including the nature of your illness.
When Does It Qualify For Wrongful Termination?
As briefly mentioned before, at-will employees can be fired at the discretion of their employers. However, they still cannot fire you in violation of federal and state laws.
When they fire you for illegal reasons, then it is considered an act of Wrongful Termination.
If your employer fired you for any of the following reasons, you could file a Wrongful Termination Claim in California:
Breach of contract and other contract claims. Your employer is legally obligated to honor a contract that states you will be employed for a specific period of time. When a company fires a worker for violating an agreement, the former employee has the right to file a wrongful termination lawsuit.
Discrimination claims. When making recruiting, promotion, or firing choices, it is illegal to discriminate against employees based on specified qualities. Examples of discrimination claims include:
Military/veteran status discrimination
Retaliation claims. Under California employment law, a firm cannot fire a worker for attempting to exercise or enforce certain rights. For example, if an employee files a harassment complaint, takes medical leave, serves on a jury, or files a workers' compensation claim, they are protected against retaliation.
As a caveat, mass layoffs, poor performance, force reductions, closure, or an employee's fault activity are all valid reasons to fire workers. To fully comprehend the details of your claim, you need to speak with a California Labor Lawyer.
What Proof Is Required in California to Win a Wrongful Termination Claim?
Photo and video evidence. Keep track of the indications if you feel you're being discriminated against or retaliated against. However, you should be aware that gathering this type of proof (i.e., filming another person) can escalate existing tensions (or, worse, disputes), so proceed with caution.
You also need the permission of the other people involved to record a private conversation in California.
Messages sent by electronic means. Your work emails, chat rooms, and text messages could be proof that you're being discriminated against, harassed, or retaliated against. Keep any emails or discussions in which your employer or HR explicitly implies that you're being fired for illegal reasons.
Pay stubs, time cards, and written notices. These documents could be used as proof that your employer has begun to retaliate against you (i.e., demotions, suspensions, and pay cuts). So if you've recently filed an Employment Law Claim with an agency, these are very crucial to keep an eye on.
That said, your California Employment Lawyer can help you gather and compile evidence. So don't hesitate to tell them about your case in detail, so they'll know what you need to succeed.
Find A California Employment Attorney Near Me
Don't worry about lawyer fees. Prioritize your employee rights in California.
You can fill out our submission form for a free case review.