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New CA Law Prohibits Absence Policy That Counts Family Leave as Basis for Adverse Employment Action

  • October 3, 2002

On September 30, Governor Davis signed a law making it unlawful for an employer to maintain an absence control policy that counts leave time used to care for an ill child, parent, spouse or domestic partner. If such a policy provides a basis for adverse employment action, including discipline, discharge, demotion or suspension, it is considered a per se violation of the law and triggers an employee's right to recover legal and equitable relief.

California Senate Bill 1471: Sick Leave Conditions

Purpose: To provide appropriate relief to an employee working under an absence control policy that counts sick leave used to attend to an illness of a child, parent, spouse, or domestic partner as a basis for discipline, demotion, discharge, or suspension. Such a policy would be a per se violation of the law, entitling the employee to legal and equitable relief.

Effective Date: January 1, 2003

Consequences: Makes maintenance of such a policy unlawful and actionable. Employers must review policies and expressly exclude protected absences from any "absence control" policies, including "no fault" attendance policies.

View full text of SB 1471

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