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Patrick, Esq.
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Category: California Employment Law
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I live and work in California. My company granted me a Short Term Disability Leave due to

Resolved Question:

I live and work in California.
My company granted me a Short Term Disability Leave due to an addiction.
I have been receiving disability salary ( 66 2/3% of full salary) since Nov 10, 2011.
I will be leaving a residential rehabilitation facility on Feb 2, 2012.
I do not want to return to my job. Can I keep the money paid to me?
Submitted: 5 years ago.
Category: California Employment Law
Expert:  Patrick, Esq. replied 5 years ago.
Hello and thank you for entrusting me to answer your question.

Since you state that your company granted you disability, I assume that you have not been receiving any sort of state-funded disability but rather that you are referring to payments your employer has volunteered to make while you attend rehab.

If the latter is the case, it would depend upon whether you entered into an enforceable contract requiring you to return to work following your completion of rehab. For example, if you agreed-even orally-that you would accept 2/3 payment of your salary while you were in rehab in exchange for continuing your employment at company XYZ when your condition improved, then you would be breaching an enforceable contract by quitting after you finished rehab. Conceivably in such instance, an employer could sue the employee in civil court for all damages that it incurred directly as a result of this breach (for example, the costs associated with interviewing, hiring and training a replacement employee).

If on the other hand you never promised to return to work in exchange for accepting these payments, and you have no other contract in place obligating you to return to work, you would be free to leave your position following completion of rehab, typically speaking. This is because employment in the state of California is presumed to be "at will" absent an agreement to the contrary. Specifically, California Labor Code Section 2922 provides that: "employment, having no specified term, may be terminated at the will of either party on notice to the other."

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.

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