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Patrick, Esq.
Patrick, Esq., Lawyer
Category: California Employment Law
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Experience:  Significant experience in all areas of employment law.
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My employer has been refusing to pay money owed to me for the

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My employer has been refusing to pay money owed to me for the sick days I have earned over the nearly eleven years that I have been employed with them. This situation first began in June 2010 and continues to this day. The employer notified me (via telephone) on June 24, 2010 that I will run out of sick days as of June 28, 2010. Employer has since then been docking my pay for each absence. I sent a letter to the employer (June 25) reminding them that I in fact have plenty of sick days remaining and expect to be paid during these periods. In the same letter, I requested that the employer substantiate the depletion of the sick days in writing. The employer has not responded to the request.
The employer reported to the union president that I was not paid for part of June 2010 because I simply vanished during the month with no notification at all.
I reported to the union president that this is a lie - documentation exists to show that I had followed proper procedure for calling in.
Upon acknowledging the existence of the documentation, the employer then reported to the union president that my pay had been docked because I failed to provide a doctor’s note for my absences.
I was under the care of a doctor from June 14 (2010) through September 9 (2010). I have a doctor’s note. I have not shared the doctor’s note with the employer because I realize that they are retaliating against me for a complaint that I filed against them in March 2009 by simply denying that I have any sick leave. They have lied repeatedly and I do not believe that my doctor's note with solve the problem.
I have a sick leave statement from the employer (September 9, 2008) which states that as of August 19, 2008, I had 66 sick days available; this number included the 11 sick days that I was advanced for 2009. If I had been credited with 66 days through 2009, and earned an additional 11 days in 2010 as a fulltime employee, that adds up to 77 sick days. If the employer is correct, then I used 90 sick days between July 2008 and June 2010. This is a ridiculous assertion.
I asked the union president if I lost my sick days during the layoff period in 2010 [My position was eliminated in 2010 and I was out of work for 6 days before being rehired/reassigned]. He stated to me that I retained my seniority position as well as the sick time that I earned. If the information that he shared with me is accurate, then the employer owes me $4,949.60 - the amount of money that they have deducted from my payroll check so far.
The union president has listened, but has not offered any assistance in this matter. In fact, when I advised the union president that I would consult an attorney on this he stated to me if I called an attorney, the union will not help me. A statement which is meaningless, since the union has not provided any assistance at all.
Is it possible for me to force this employer to credit me with the accurate number of sick days and reimburse me for what I have earned within a reasonable time frame?
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: California Employment Law
Expert:  Patrick, Esq. replied 3 years ago.
Hello and thank you so much for requesting me to answer your question. I am sorry to hear that you are having these troubles with sick day credits.

Sick days are a bit different than vacation days or general "paid time off days" in that an employer is actually free to limit employees' use of such days to days on which the employee is actually sick. Accordingly, an employer typically can require a note from your doctor as a condition to getting paid for the leave. Failure to provide such proof, if requested, may serve as a valid grounds to deny the use of a paid sick day. If your employer never requested medical documentation from you, then it may not be able to assert this defense to your allegation of non paid sick days. If, on the other hand, it did request such proof and you failed to provide it, the employer would typically not be required to pay you.

Assuming that you provided the necessary documentation or that it was never requested, the other issue seems to be how many days you actually had. As the party claiming that your sick days were miscalculated, the burden would fall on you to demonstrate that you had more sick days than your employer is claiming. You should be able to determine the number of sick days you had accrued by looking over your collective bargaining agreement, which should spell out pretty clearly how sick days are to be calculated.

If you believe that you had more sick days than your employer is claiming and that you provided all necessary proof regarding illness to qualify to use those days, then you may wish to consider filing a grievance through your union. The grievance will proceed through numerous stages and will culminate with arbitration. If you disagree with the arbitrator's decision, you can typically appeal it by filing a lawsuit.

I sincerely XXXXX XXXXX this information helps you and I wish you the very best of luck. Bear in mind that none of the above constitutes legal advice nor is any attorney client relationship created between us.

Please abide by the honor code of this website by kindly clicking on the GREEN ACCEPT button if my answer has been helpful to you. Thank you very much.
Patrick, Esq., Lawyer
Satisfied Customers: 8989
Experience: Significant experience in all areas of employment law.
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