Can my employer force me to take unpaid time off rather then meet my temporary medical restrictions?

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Can my employer force me to take unpaid time off rather then meet my temporary medical restrictions?

I am a salaried employee who was in a car accident a few weeks ago. My doctor
has put me on partial days working in my office and partial days working from
home so I can get the rest needed and work with my physical therapist. I’m
looking to do about 5-6 hours in my office and a few additional hours from home
that I can spread out. My employer informed me today that they would rather I
take the rest of the month off unpaid rather then having to pay me a full day to
work in the office for only a partial day. She informed me that they have an
‘unwritten company policy’ against letting employees work from home. I know this
is only to suit their needs as the person who held my position before me was
granted the right to work from home every day for over a year and this was not
for medical reasons. Understanding that as an exempt employee they can not pay
me partial days they are opting to just not pay me at all. Is this legal?

Asked on July 11, 2016 under Employment Labor Law, California

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

Yes, it is completely legal. There is no law requiring employers to let employees work partially from home; an employer can insist that employees work full time in the office (or other worksite). If the employee will not, the employer could terminate them--or could, as here, let them take unpaid leave.


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