If I was injured at work and was told by the doctor to take the day off, can my employer make me use a sick day for this?

UPDATED: Sep 29, 2022

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If I was injured at work and was told by the doctor to take the day off, can my employer make me use a sick day for this?

I was taken to the emergency room. I spent 8 hours past my shift there and when I left the doctor told me he was giving me a note for that day off and light duty for 5 days after that. My employer told me that since I had taken the doctor ordered day off, I had to use my sick day for this. Is that true?

Asked on October 23, 2015 under Employment Labor Law, California


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 7 years ago | Contributor

Of course your employer can make you use a sick day for this--why would you employer have to either 1) pay you for not working that day; or 2) allow you to have an unpaid by unexcused absence (when you miss a day of work without using a sick or vacation day, without being on FMLA leave, or without your employer's prior permission, which they are under no obligation to give, it is an unexcused absence). Your sick days are for when you are sick or injured and cannot or should not go into work--this is what they are for. You should actually be glad you have a sick day to cover the absence--if you did not, you could have been fired, or even if not fired, would not be paid for the day.

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