Can an employer send an employee home for a family leave without the employee request it?

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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Can an employer send an employee home for a family leave without the employee request it?

My wife was sent home by the employer. Just before she went home, the manager took her to the office and said that,

Asked on July 1, 2019 under Employment Labor Law, California


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

Yes, they can: the employer, not employee, determines when an employee may work, and can schedule them to not work put them on leave, suspend them, or even terminate them at will. (That is, so long as you don't have a written employment contract preventing this; if you do, you can enforce your rights under the contract, including by a lawsuit for "breach of contract" if necessary.)
So the employer can put her on leave. At some point, if they will not return her to work or even give her a firm and reasonable deadline for her return, she could consider herself to have been terminated and apply for unemployment benefits; termination can be by action (not letting an employee return to work) as well as in words (e.g. saying "you're fired").

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