I'm sorry to hear this.http://www.californiawagelaw.com/wage_law/2011/05/employment-law-update-california-bereavement-leave-bill-put-to-vote.html
Last year, the California Legislature passed AB 2340, a bill to allow employees up to three days of unpaid bereavement leave upon the death of certain family members. The bill was vetoed by Governor Schwarzenegger.
The above link notes that there is a similar Bill that is pending in the Legislature now, but it has not yet been enacted.
Bereavement Leave is Not Available Under the FMLA, seehttp://federalfmla.typepad.com/fmla_blog/2007/04/bereavement_lea.htmlbut
it can be if the request is phrased properly.
The above link notes the case of Stubl v. T.A. Sysm., Inc
., 984 F. Supp. 1075 (E.D.Mich. 1997). In Stubl
, the court found that the employee provided sufficient information to alert the employer that the leave might be FMLA-qualifying. There, the employee stated that "I am taking this leave of absence based on my personal loss caused by the death of Keith Jr. with regards XXXXX XXXXX personal health." The Court reasoned that the notice in Stubl
was sufficient because the employee tied his need for leave to his own physical or mental condition as a result of the death of a family member.
It is not relevant that 50 people do not work at your office if there are 50 within 75 miles:
"To be eligible for FMLA benefits, an employee must:
work for a covered employer;
have worked for the employer for a total of 12 months;
have worked at least 1,250 hours over the previous 12 months; andwork at a location in the United States or in any territory or possession of the United States where at least 50 employees are employed by the employer within 75 miles.
I hope this information is helpful.