Sick leave and pto in california

Hello I just had some questions about
paid time off and sick leave in
California. My manager had sent me home
sick from work from throwing up. I
wanted to either put in sick leave
hours or pto for that day. I have
paperwork with the company on my
stomach illness however when I asked my
manager if I could take it she told me
I can’t use it just to see more money
in my paycheck. I have also tried to
use my time off request on other
situations and she has asked me why do
I want the time off and that i can’t
take it. She has been denying my time
off since an incident where she got
pulled in by her boss for being
unprofessional with me on the sales
floor of my work. She has only gotten
worse with her professionalism with me.
I work in a retail environment so I
work with customers on a daily basis.
There has been times where she has
yelled at me on the floor with customer
and employee present. If I’m working
with a customer she will go up to them
and ask them question about my
performance while I’m right there which
makes it very awkward and embarrassing.
On her days off she will come in to
make sure I’m doing my job and on my
days off she will take pictures of the
stuff I did not complete. She does not
do this with any other employee. There
has also been incidences where she will
change my schedule the day before
without letting me know and the next
day I come in, I’m scheduled at a
different time. I don’t want to make a
complaint on her because the last time
she was talked to about me she started
to do all this. However I do want to
know my right as an employee to when I
can use or take my sick leave / pto.

Asked on March 18, 2017 under Employment Labor Law, California

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

Your manager can yell at you, harass you, disparage you, question you, etc.--the law does not require fair or professional treatment. She can also change your schedule at will, without warning, unless you have a written contract to the contrary: without a contract, the employer has absolute control over your schedule.
You do have to be allowed to use PTO you earned. An employer has some discretion to say when you can schedule vacation days--e.g. not when they are understaffed, there's a big project, or it's busy season--and can require you to provide proof (e.g. a doctor's note) that a use of sick days was legitimate, but subject to those limitations, you have to be able to use these days. If they effectively never let you use PTO, they are denying you compensation (PTO is considered compensation) which you earned, and so are breaching the agreement (whether oral [unwritten] or written) pursuan to which you work for pay: you did your part--you worked--and so must be given all the compensation you earned; but if you can't use PTO, that part of your compensation is taken from you. If they never let you use this, you could sue for breach of contract for the monetary value or a court order requiring them to let you use your PTO; you might also try contacting the state department of labor to try filing a complaint--they may be able to help you. Good luck.


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