Can I sue my employer for requiring me to go to work when I am sick providing a doctor's note?

I was reprimanded for calling off work because I was sick and I even provided them a doctor's note. I was told by human resource that I should have shown up for work anyways even if I was going to be sent home. I commute about 70 miles for work and do not feel I should jeopardize my health and others by going in to work. I am a contractor and the site I work at is strict on making sure that anyone who is sick should stay home. Health and safety is their primary concern and being told that I should go to work goes against that policy. In addition, other employees who have called off work more then me have not been reprimanded in the same manner nor were there consistency in the way they reprimand everyone. I feel it is unfair and unjust that my health does not mean a thing to them especially when we have the swine flu going around.

2 answers  |  asked Jan 2, 2010 02:50 AM [EST]  |  applies to California

Answers (2)

Elisa Ungerman
The above is sound advice. You may want to think about lodging a non-aggressive complaint with your employer and explain the circumstances of why it is problematic for you to report to work under such circumstances. It may be that your employer has had other employees abusing the system - calling in sick when they were not, so decided to crack down and have employees "prove" that they are in fact sick. Or it may be that you are perceived to use too much "sick" time and the employer is trying to curb what it perceives as abuse. Sometime, communication between the ER and EE, depending on the Company and situation, can solve problems and issues before they "blow up".

posted by Elisa Ungerman  |  Jan 4, 2010 12:57 PM [EST]
Arkady Itkin

It's quite possible that it is unfair and unjust that you were reprimanded for taking a day off due to being sick. If it's just a one-time incident, it's worth letting it go. If, however, you believe that this is just part of series of attempts to create a paper trail to terminate you, you should start preserving all evidence you have (e-mails, notes, performance reviews) while you are still there, make sure your performance is satisfactory and consult with an attorney sooner than later. You might not be able to prevent your termination, but having "weapons" lined up once the employer takes action against you might prove to be useful in the future.


Arkady Itkin
Sacramento & San Francisco Employment Lawyer

posted by Arkady Itkin  |  Jan 2, 2010 12:01 PM [EST]

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