I have been working in this company for 3 years now. The company employs 1000s of people but specifically I work in a lab of 10 people. Recently I was threatened about calling in sick unpaid time off that it would affect my bonus check. I told them it was due to my asthma. I’m in California. I wanted to know if they could use my unpaid time off against me (due to asthma) for poor performance in my review to affect my bonus? could they terminate me for having asthma?
Yes, unless you do the things necessary to make it unlawful.
Go to your doctor and ask for the doctor to provide you with a note indicating a need for intermittent leave. Once you present a doctor's note with such a restriction the employer will be legally bound to give you the time off without retaliation unless doing so would create an undue hardship on your employer. In fact, ask the doctor to fill out FMLA paperwork to submit to the company and you will have up to 120 days of leave available to you.
Good luck to you.
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I agree with my colleague Mr. Pederson. The Fair Employment and Housing Act of 1959, codified in Government Code §§12900 - 1299 and commonly referred to as the FEHA, protects employees from unlawful discrimination for belonging to a protected class (religious belief, race, ethnicity, nationality, disability, marital status, sexual orientation, gender, and some related categories or even the perception that you may belong to one of these classes of people) or for engaging in protected conduct (often referred to as whistle blower protection).
So in a sense you are on the right track, it would be illegal to terminate / demote / or impact your employment in any negative manner "because" of your asthma or "because" of asking for leave due to asthma so long as it doesn't cause the legal limit of "undue hardship". However, here, you describe taking leave and then informing them you had asthma only after the fact.
In a different scenario where you submitted a doctor's note first indicating you needed medical leave and then took that leave and then your employer threatened your job or other adverse employment action, you would have a a case for discrimination / retaliation. Your employer deserves and it is legally required, that they have notice prior to any legal rights or employer obligations being triggered. They cannot read your mind about what is bothering you to the point that you cannot go to work.
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