Milpitas, CA asked in Employment Law for California

Q: Around the 1st week of May we were told to that we had to buy out all our PTO before the end of the week because of the

California warn act and we found out the company already did that without any formal notice. Then before we know it on Sunday may 10 we were scheduled to work but we were informed that if we have coughs runny nose shortness of breath body aches covid 19 like symptoms that we were to stay home. I have the symptoms but doesn't feel like any virus because I have no fever. I dont have any sick leave nor do I have any PTO to use. Now a couple of questions.

1. Is the company right legally having us buy out out PTO?

2. since the company reopened and back to work they said our furlogh has ended on May 10 and I have no leave to use am I able to still claim unemployment until I am feeling better?

3. Since I am doing self quarantine and have not been tested can my company fire me? And yes I've already informed my supervisor of my symptoms.

Thats all I have for you. Thank you in advanced for answering my questions.

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1 Lawyer Answer
Alden Jay Knisbacher
Alden Jay Knisbacher
  • Oakland, CA
  • Licensed in California

A: The California Labor Commissioner has said that employers must give their employees “reasonable notice” of a requirement to use accrued vacation or PTO. Reasonable notice has been interpreted to mean 90 days notice. So, no, I do not think that is legal.

I am not clear on what you are saying regarding the WARN act. ..

As for firing you, no, they cannot legally do so, regardless of whether you have PTO.

They are required to pay you under California’s paid sick leave law. Employees qualify for paid sick leave aid sick leave for absences because of illness, diagnosis, care, or treatment of an existing health condition, as well as for preventative care, for the employee or certain family members. “self-quarantine as a result of potential exposure to COVID-19 if quarantine is recommended by civil authorities.” In your case, I would recommend that you call a doctor -- who would likely tell you to stay home.

I also believe that the employer would also be violating California's disability discrimination laws if they fired you.

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