Category: Employment Discrimination

Protected Leaves of Absence

work absense cannot be fired

Time Off For Noble Deeds

If employees want to help save the world, in California, they can do so without fear of losing their job.  Lab. Code §§ 230.3-.4; 1501-1507.  Employers in California are required to allow employees to take unpaid leaves of absence to serve as volunteer firefighters, reserve peace officers, emergency rescue personnel, or as a member of the Civil Air Patrol.  Any employer who discriminates against an employee for taking time allowed under the law is guilty of a criminal misdemeanor, and the affected employee is entitled to reinstatement, lost wages, and benefits. 

Time Off For Saving Lives

If an employer employs 15 or more employees, an employee that has worked for the employer for at least 90 days is entitled to take up to 5 business days of paid leave during any one-year period to donate bone marrow, and up to 30 business days of paid leave during any one-year period to donate an organ.  Lab. Code §§ 1508-1513.

Time Off For Classroom Assistants

Parents, guardians, and grandparents with custody can take unpaid time off (or use vacation/personal leave) up to 8 hours per month and 40 hours per school year to participate in their child’s school or day care activities.  Lab. Code § 230.8.  The penalty for violating this provision includes reinstatement, lost wages and benefits, as well as a civil penalty of three times the lost wages and benefits.

Time Off For Addicts And Those Who Need Help Reading

Employers are also obligated to allow employees to take unpaid leave as a “reasonable accommodation” to participate in alcohol or drug rehabilitation programs, or adult literacy programs, if they employ 25 or more employees.  Lab. Code §§ 1025-26; 1041.

Fired for one of the situations referenced above? View our wrongful termination page for more information about legal claims.

Can My Employer Share My Private Info?

can employers share employee info

Melissa Ignat asked the court to rule that her right to privacy was violated when her employer, Yum! Brands, Inc. (parent company of Taco Bell, Pizza Hut, KFC and others) told her coworkers that she suffered from bipolar disorder.

The California Court of Appeals, Fourth District, Division Three ruled in her favor and held that an employee’s right to privacy can be violated by oral communications.

Initial Decision: Violations Must Be In Writing

Appellant Melissa Ignat asked the appeals court to review the lower court’s grant of summary judgment. The lower court had found that she could not pursue a privacy action on the grounds that the right of privacy can only be violated by written disclosure, not by word of mouth.

Since Ignat’s claim did not involve a written disclosure of private facts, but verbal remarks made by her supervisor, the trial court granted Yum’s motion for summary judgment based on these facts.

After returning from an absence, Ms. Ignat discovered her supervisor had told other coworkers in the department that she was bipolar. As a result, Ms. Ignat’s coworkers began to avoid her.

One of them even asked the supervisor if Ms. Ignat was likely to “go postal” at work. That following September, Ms. Ignat was terminated.

She then filed suit for invasion of privacy by public disclosure of private facts.

Appeals: Employers Cannot Disclose Employee Private Info

The Court of Appeal overturned the trial court, stating that “we conclude that limiting liability for public disclosure of private facts to those recorded in a writing is contrary to the tort’s purpose, which has been since its inception to allow a person to control the kind of information about himself made available to the public — in essence, to define his public persona.”