How cn I get my sick pay from a former employer?

About 2 months ago, when I was working at a restaurant, I asked for vacation time and was told that I needed to get a doctor’s note. I did and was told that I would receive the paperwork that I needed in order to receive my sick pay. However, I did not receive that paperwork until I was actually on my vacation and it was not for my sick pay it was instead for a family medical leave of absence. I did not request this leave of absence and I feel that my employers purposefully gave me that paperwork because they did not want to pay me my sick leave. I have since quit my job and am applying for full disability benefits with the veterans’ department. I want to know if I can still get my sick leave, which I feel the company was trying not to pay me and if by diverting me away from my sick leave and trying to get me to take medical leave, which I think is unethical. I want to know if these actions by my former employer are also illegal?

Asked on February 22, 2019 under Employment Labor Law, California


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 1 year ago | Contributor

The only way would be to sue and prove in court that you had requested the use of the sick days prior to the termination or end of your employment. The question then becomes: is it worth doing? While the monetary cost of a lawsuit if filed in small claims court on a "pro se" basis is small, assume you will lose at least one work day and possibly two (if the case is adjourned or rescheduled, which sometimes happens if there are more cases in a day than the court can get to) to the case and cannot guaranty success (no case is ever guaranteed; do not believe any lawyer who ever tells you otherwise). Is giving up one or two work days for a chance of getting this pay worthwhile? If it is, file the lawsuit.

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