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Tina, Attorney
Category: California Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 33166
Experience:  JD, 17 years experience & recognized by ABA for excellence in employment law.
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I have a lady that works for me. When hired she stated that

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I have a lady that works for me. When hired she stated that she needs to leave the office a number of times to pick up kids from school and other things that a single parent might do. I told her that it was OK with me, just as long as her work didn't fall behind and if it meant some evenings and weekends to keep caught up, that would be fine. That time was kind of a trade for office hours missed. I also gave her permission to sell (we are a real estate office)to help her income. We pay her $17.00 per hour as a salary,she works full time. Her 2 week vacatiion and one week sick leave is used up, she takes alot of time off. When confronted, she said that "Iam on a salary and when I take my work home with me, I am to be paid for that time. I feel that if she takes that time off, lets say half day then she is docked the time. Now, when she leaves the office to get her kids, take them to school events, I don't deduct the time away from the office she takes, I still pay her the $17.00 per hour whether she is here or not. It's on my dime. She has alot of financial problems, husband left home, home in forclosure etc. She could be at a basketball game with her kids and she is still being paid. When first offered this position in our company, it was understood that she could take the time off when needed but would have to make up that time getting caught up by working late, weekends and so forth. It has now come back to bite me in the butt because when she takes a sick day but does some work, she feels that the sick day should not be taken from her because she worked. We have no way of telling whether she did any work at home or not and frankly, I don't believe it is my resposibilty to make that determination. Please advise and assist me in this problem.
Submitted: 5 years ago.
Category: California Employment Law
Expert:  Tina replied 5 years ago.
Thank you for contacting

Does the employee have a contract of employment?

Do you wish to terminate her or take some other action?

Do you have a written policy with regard to vacation or sick time?

Do you have at least 15 employees?

Customer: replied 5 years ago.

We don't have a contract of employment


I want to take other action rather than fire her


We do have a policy for vacation and sick time


We have less that 15 employee's

Expert:  Tina replied 5 years ago.
I see.

Since there is no contract of employment, she is typically an employee at will, unless the employee handbook indicates otherwise.

As an employee at will, the law permits you to implement and enforce policies with regard to when the employee must be at work and when they may take sick days or vacation days.

So as long as you provide notice as to what you expect and do not discriminate on the basis of race, gender, age, marital status, or other protected classifications, you are normally free to take whatever action you wish with regard to violations of your policies, as far as a written or verbal warning or even termination.

If the employee works a partial day, you should typically not dock her though since you would risk losing her exempt status. Instead, if she does not regularly work overtime, you may want to begin paying her on an hourly basis.

You can dictate when she must use sick or vacation days normally, but if she utilizes all days to which she is entitled, you should not typically dock her pay for partial days as long as she is a salaried exempt employee.

Good luck and take care.



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