If I was recently fired from a job for a HIPPA violation, what are my rights regarding my termination and my accrued sick time?

It was a mistake in which I misplaced medical files. I was scolded for this on a Friday and fired for it the following Wednesday. I also had sick time that was built up but never paid out. Was ii illegal to fire me if I had already gotten in trouble for it and didn’t do it again after? And are they obligated to pay me my sick time?

Asked on October 11, 2015 under Employment Labor Law, California


M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

Unless you have an employment contract or union/collective bargaining agreement or even a company policy that prohibits your firing under the circumstances, your employer has done nothing wrong. Also, your treatment must not have been due to actionable discrmination or retaliation. Otherwise, your discharge was legal. The fact is that most employment relationships are "at will". This means that an employer can fire an employee for the reason you have given, or for any reason, or no reason at all, with or without notice.
As for your accrued sick time, under CA law, employers are not required to compensate employees for unused sick days upon termination. However, if an employer combines vacation and sick time into a paid time-off bank it must pay out the accrued but unused PTO upon an employee's dismissal.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although AttorneyPages.com has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.