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Coast Employment Law
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Can My Boss Deny My Time Off Request?

Business concept meaning Paid Family Leave with sign on the sheet.

Employers typically provide some form of discretionary leave. After you’ve worked at the company for a certain period of time, you are told you can take time off for vacation or sick days. What if you ask to take time off and your boss says no? Are they legally allowed to deny your request? Do you have any recourse? Continue reading to learn about protected and unprotected time off in California. For assistance with an employee rights matter in Southern California, call our Orange County labor law attorney for considered advice and representation.

Forms Of Protected Leave

California and federal law require employers to grant requests for leave for certain, protected reasons. California law requires employers to give employees time off for jury duty, sick days, injury/temporary disability, or to care for a sick family member. The California Family Rights Act (CFRA) requires employers with at least 50 employees to give employees the right to take up to 12 weeks a year off to recover from serious health problems, to care for a sick or injured family member, or to care for a newborn child.

Federal law also protects employee time off for protected reasons. The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) requires covered employers to give workers up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave per year to deal with family or medical emergencies or to care for a newborn child.

If an employer refuses your request to take leave protected by CFRA, FMLA, or another applicable state or federal law, you could have a legal claim against your employer for damages. Talk to an experienced labor law attorney to find out your rights.

Your Boss Can Refuse Unprotected Leave

If you request leave protected by the FMLA or the CFRA, your employer is legally required to grant you leave. If you are requesting leave for other reasons, however–such as for vacation–your employer is not required to accede to your request. Employers with discretionary sick day policies, for example, might deny such sick leave if the employee has not accrued those days or if the employee does not have a legitimate medical issue.

Employers can deny employee requests even for accrued vacation time, although if they do so, they should generally have a good reason (such as a workplace emergency, a particularly busy time period, or an unexpected lack of someone else to fill in).

If your employer consistently denies you accrued leave you are guaranteed in light of your employment contract, you might have a legal claim based on that contract. Moreover, if you quit or you are terminated while you still have accrued vacation days remaining, you may have a right to compensation for those unused days–particularly if you tried to take that time off and were denied. Talk to a California labor lawyer about your concerns to discuss your options.

If you are an employee with a wage & hour dispute, a retaliation matter, or other employee rights issues in Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino, Los Angeles, or San Diego counties, or if you are a California employer dealing with employee rights allegations, wage & hour issues, employee contract disputes, or other employment law issues, contact a skilled and accomplished California employment law attorney at Coast Employment Law at 714-551-9930 for a free consultation.

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