It is early in the morning, the sun has yet to rise, and the alarm on
your phone goes off. Work is hours away but this is the alarm you set
is for yourself, it is the alarm you customized on your phone with the
arm flexing emoji entitled “get fit”, this is your morning run alarm.
You get dressed, grab your watch, headphones and are ready to take on a
lengthy run. A few minutes into your run though, you step out onto the
street and you are hit by a speeding car. Days later you wake up in the
hospital and are told you are going to live and will recover but you
will be on bed rest for at least a few months.
- What do you tell your boss?
- Does your boss have to hold your job open for you?
- Will it matter that this happened outside of work?
- How much time off can you take off from work if you are injured?
- Does your injury even qualify for leave?
- Do you have rights as an employee if you have a serious injury and need time off?
Although the scenario above is unfortunate, it very common for the
unexpected to happen in an employee’s career. But what happens to an
employee who has been seriously injured outside of work and needs time
off to recover? Employees in California have rights when it comes to taking leave
but only in particular circumstances. It is important for employers as
well as employees to be well-informed of the rights and regulations that
govern recognized leaves in employment law. These laws that regulate
leaves can be complex which is why the assistance of an Employment
Attorney is necessary. An Employment Attorney may be able to answer all
the normal and perhaps unique questions an employee may have regarding
their potential case. Sometimes an employee has a case, other times they
may need to fill out and apply for certain things, or an employee may
need to put a request in writing regarding their leaver to their
employer. Each employee’s case is different and needs the careful
consideration of an Employment Attorney. Below are a few things an employee should know about taking a leave.
1. Who can take a leave?
employee who is suffering from a severe illness or health condition may
be eligible for a recognized leave. The employee may also take a leave
if they need to care for their husband, wife, child, or parent who is
suffering from a severe illness or health condition.
and serious injuries are not the only types of reasons an employee may
have to receive time off. The law also recognizes other types of
situations that an employee may need to take time off from work. One
reason may be to adopt a child or to be present for the placement of an
adopted or foster child. Another reason for leave that is protected is
if an employee’s husband or wife is on active duty in the armed forces
and an emergency arises out of the spouse’s active duty status. Lastly,
the employee may take time off for the birth of a child and for the care
of the recently born child.
2. Exactly how much time do you get?
much time an employee is entitled to for leave can be extremely
complicated and more likely than not will need the close consideration
of an Employment Attorney to decide what the employee was or was not
entitled to for their leave of absence.
Technically, depending on a number of factors, an employee is entitled
to a max of 12 weeks of protected leave. This leave is usually unpaid
leave unless the employee’s employment contract says otherwise. If the
employee needs more time for their leave, they will need a letter from
their doctor verifying this in addition to requesting the additional
leave as a form of accommodation.
every employee’s situation is different and would ultimately need to
discuss their circumstances with an Employment Attorney.
3. What your boss shouldn’t be doing
course, taking a leave of absence is not ideal for any employee or
their employer, but sometimes it is necessary and the law recognizes
that to an extent. But a common fear that employees have when they need
to take a leave is that their boss will be mad and punish them for
taking the leave, even if it is not their fault.
Can an employer punish an employee for taking a leave?
on the particular set of facts, an employer who is irritated with an
employee for taking leave cannot punish that employee for requesting the
leave or for taking the leave for a recognized reason. An employer may
violate employment laws
by reducing an employee’s pay, transferring the employee to another
department, removing the employee from the schedule when they are able
to work, demoting the employee, calling the employee names, singling the
employee out, making derogatory comments regarding their disability,
reprimanding the employee for bogus reasons and perhaps even firing the
employee from their job. This kind of behavior that is being exercised
by an employer towards an employee who requested a leave or took a
recognized leave may be characterized as retaliation which is prohibited
by law. If an employee can show that they were treated adversely for
taking a leave, they may have a retaliation claim against their
employer. If an employee was not only treated adversely for taking or
requesting a leave but was also terminated, the employee may also have a
wrongful termination claim in addition to a retaliation claim. When
applied, these laws can be complex therefore an employee or former
employee should contact an Employment Attorney to discuss whether they
should file a claim against their employer or former employer.
Retaliation, wrongful termination, and discrimination are types of legal
situations that can be difficult to handle but an experienced
Employment Attorney may be able to help an employee who feels as though
their rights have been violated.