Is it legal to be forced to take a week off with no pay?

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Is it legal to be forced to take a week off with no pay?

My son was a victim in a assault. His nose is broken and needs a operation. He also has a dislocated shoulder multiple cuts and bruises. This was the first day he has ever called in sick. The day after he was willing to go back to work but they told him to stay home that Friday and to stay home all the next week with no pay. This does not sound legal to me.

Asked on December 13, 2016 under Employment Labor Law, Connecticut

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

It is perfectly legal, unless you son had and used paid time off, like paid sick leave, which he had earned--if he did, they could not penalize him for doing so, since to penalize him for using earned PTO is to effectively deprive him of part of his wages (what he worked to get). If this was the case, he should contact the state department of labor about possibly filing a complaint.
However, if he did not have and use PTO, then he had no intrinsic right at law to call in sick: the law does not, contrary to popular belief, give employees the right to call in sick. Therefore, he could potentially  have even been terminated by his employee (unless he has a written employment contract guarantying or protecting his employment) for missing work--or they could take a less drastic step, like suspending (effectively) for a week.
Moreover, unless he has a written employment contract guarantying his hours, days, etc., the employer has free discretion to schedule him, and could generally tell him to not come into work--including if they believe that he would be unproductive or distracting due to his injuries.


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