I was talking to a friend randomly about this and she said I might have a possible lawsuit against my employer. I was on a team where my manager was really an a$$hole. I was going through some health issues as one point and he said you don't have sick time but go ahead and take a day off. I have pretty much worked on every day off, paid or not. On sick time and on vacation, I was always working on my mobile. I was getting married and get on that time off I was responding to client emails. The main thing they friend pointed out was that I should not respond to work emails if I'm taking sick day and especially not if not being paid either....
This is in California. Any guidance from California lawyers on such situations?
More needs to be known. First it needs to be known if you were an appropriately characterized exempt or non-exempt employee. Exempt employees can be asked to work as many hours as are necessary to get the job done, even on your day off. Non-exempt employees must be paid for all time they are working, even if responding to texts and emails on their day off.
Also, if you had truly exhausted your sick time, it is appropriate to give you unpaid leave. If you had not exhausted your sick leave, it would be inappropriate to deny you the paid sick leave under the Healthy Families Act law that started a couple years ago in California.
It would be prudent for you to locate and consult with an experienced employment law attorney as soon as possible to explore your facts and determine your options. I would suggest you look either on this site in the Find a Lawyer section, or go to www.cela.org, the home page for the California Employment Lawyers Association, an organization whose members are dedicated to the representation of employees against their employers.
Most employment attorneys who practice this area of law offer a free or low-charge consultation and then if the matter has merit and sufficient value, they work on a contingency basis, meaning you can hire an attorney without paying any money until the matter results in a positive outcome for you. Many advance all the costs of the litigation as well. Do not let fear of fees and costs keep you from finding a good attorney.
Good luck to you.
This answer should not be construed to create any attorney-client relationship. Such a relationship can be formed only through the mutual execution of an attorney-client agreement. The answer given is based on the extremely limited facts provided and the proper course of action might change significantly with the introduction of other facts. All who read this answer should not rely on the answer to govern their conduct. Please seek the advice of competent counsel after disclosing all facts to that attorney. This answer is intended for California residents only. The answering party is only licensed to practice in the State of California.
With your comment to Mr. Pederson, it sounds like you may have an off-the-clock issue. Remember that every time you perform work in California, you are supposed to be paid for that time if your employer knows you are working or should know that you are working. If you were a non-union employee, I would suggest speaking with an attorney and discussing your options with that attorney. However, since you are in a union, you have another avenue - the shop steward. Talk to your union and see what can be done through the union. If that doesn't work, contact an attorney. Your union may even have a few to refer to you.
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