What Can My Employer Ask When I Call In Sick?
Nearly every worker has called in sick at least once. In most cases, calling in sick is a rather simple process: You tell your employer that you do not feel well, and your boss asks you when you plan to return to work.
In some cases, an employer may ask additional questions when an employee calls in sick. You may not feel comfortable answering some of your employer’s questions, which is why it makes sense to know, “What can my employer ask me when I call in sick?”
It is advisable to consult with an experienced attorney to understand your rights when calling in sick in Los Angeles and other parts of California.
What Are an Employee’s Rights When Calling in Sick in California?
Under California’s sick leave law, employees accrue one hour of paid sick days for every 30 hours worked. The work hours are counted after an employee has worked for the same employer for at least 90 days.
However, paid sick leave policies vary from one company to another, which is why it is advisable to consult with an attorney to understand your rights when calling in sick.
When an employee is calling in sick, their employer is allowed to ask:
- Why the employee is taking a sick day; and
- How many days the employee may need to recover to return to work
Any further questions about specific medical conditions covered by the Americans with Disability Act (ADA) are prohibited. ADA-covered illnesses include but are not limited to:
- HIV infection
- And many others
Thus, if an employee with diabetes takes a sick day, their employer cannot ask questions about their condition. When asking about a condition not covered by the ADA, however, an employer can ask the employee to provide:
- General details about their condition; and
- A doctor’s note (if the employee requests more than one paid sick day)
If you believe that your employer has violated your privacy rights when asking you about your medical condition, do not hesitate to contact an experienced lawyer.
How to Call in Sick in California
If you do not fully understand your rights when calling in sick in California, you need to speak with an attorney. If your employer asks you questions when you request sick days, it is generally up to you whether or not to tell them about your condition.
Generally, it is best to provide any reasonable and necessary information your employer asks about your illness unless the condition is protected by the ADA.
If you are requesting a paid sick day for an ADA-protected condition, you can respond to your employer’s questions by telling them that your condition is protected by the ADA and you have a right to refuse to provide details about your illness.
If your employer violates your rights when you request a paid sick day, you can submit a complaint to the HR department. If no reasonable measures are taken, you could pursue legal action against your employer. It is advisable to consult with an attorney to determine what your employer can and cannot ask when you call in sick.