Calling out sick

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Calling out sick

I work as a marriage and family therapist Intern for a foster family agency. My employer requires me to contact clients on my personal time, from my personal phone to inform clients when I am out sick. Is this legal? After receiving a

Asked on January 9, 2017 under Employment Labor Law, California

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

Yes, this is legal. An employer can require its employees let clients know when they are out sick; and an employer can require that the employee use his/her personal phone; they can also have you do this outside of your typical or normal work hours. Employers can put essentially any terms or conditions they like on employment; if you don't want to work under them, your recourse is to seek other employment.
If you are an hourly employee, however, you must be paid for the time spent contacting clients, even if it occurs outside of normal working hours: anything the employer requires you to do for its purposes or benefit is "work" and you must be compensated for it if hourly. (If you are salaried, they do not, however, owe you additonal pay; your weekly salary is your total compensation for all work done during the week.) Theoretially, if not paid for the time spent calling clients to inform them that you are sick, you could contact the state department of labor to file a wage and hour complaint; as a practical matter, it is unlikely to be worth filing a complaint against your employer for the amount of time and money involved.


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