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Joseph
Joseph, Lawyer
Category: California Employment Law
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Experience:  Extensive experience representing employees and management
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I was terminated after entering rehab, I tried to contact my

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I was terminated after entering rehab, I tried to contact my workplace when I got back I got no response. I was not sent a notice, any paperwork. Or receive my pto hrs. I also while employed for almost 5 years would only get a bathroom break or two at best each shift. I worked for a casino, and lawyers seem to not want to touch this case. But they are not above federal laws right? Where do I go from here?
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: California Employment Law
Expert:  Joseph replied 2 years ago.
Hello and welcome to JustAnswer.

I'm sorry to hear about your situation and hope I can help.

Were you on any form of protected leave while you were in rehab or did you request the time off before entering rehab?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
i was involved in an intervention so the interventionist spoke with h.r. and the medical dr. i was about to see sent in some paperwork. i was assured by the interventionist i could NOT be fired. Knowing my workplace though i should have known better. i didnt request leave because i didnt know i was going but they spoke with my employer on what steps they had to take and did them. i have multiple complaints and dont know where to take them. thank you.
Expert:  Joseph replied 2 years ago.
Unfortunately, the interventionist was misinformed. Unless you are on some form of protected leave, as an at-will employee, you could be terminated while you are in rehab.

This stems from the employment at-will doctrine, which is codified in California Labor Code Section 2922, and states:

"An employment, having no specified term, may be terminated at the will of either party on notice to the other. Employment for a specified term means an employment for a period greater than one month."

However, the Americans with Disabilities Act does provide protections to people who were former addicts/alcoholics, and your employer is required to provide you with a reasonable accommodation for your addiction, so it would still be worthwhile to make a complaint to the EEOC for discrimination in violation of the ADA.

You can do so using the information available online here:

http://www.eeoc.gov/employees/charge.cfm

The EEOC will investigate the complaint on your behalf and either file suit on your behalf or issue you a right to sue letter so you can pursue your claim against your employer through a private attorney.

Additionally, if you have not been given a check for your paid time off, you should file a wage claim against your employer with the Department of Industrial Relations.

In addition to your PTO, you are due a day's wages per day you've been required to wait to receive your pay, for up to 30 days of penalties.

You can file a wage claim using the forms available online here:

http://www.dir.ca.gov/dlse/HowToFileWageClaim.htm

Finally, you may want to pursue a cause of action for negligence against the interventionist for wrongly assuring you that you could not be fired by going to rehab. I imagine this was done to assure that you would go to rehab, but the interventionist seems to have failed to assure that your employer would actually keep your job open while you were in rehab. (This could have been done through an FMLA application for leave, which could have been done immediately after you went to rehab, since it does not need to be done in advance in emergency situations).
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Thank you! Any thoughts about working10 hr. shifts w only a bathroom break and i complained repeatedly?
Expert:  Joseph replied 2 years ago.
Yes, you also entitled to receive a lunch break of a half hour and (at least) two ten-minute rest breaks in a 10 hour shift. If you didn't receive them, you should add those to your wage claim against your employer.

You also may have a cause of action for wrongful termination in violation of public policy if you were terminated due to your complaints about their illegal labor practices.
Joseph, Lawyer
Satisfied Customers: 5273
Experience: Extensive experience representing employees and management
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