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

Answers:

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.


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