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What Is Voting Leave?

Voting is a fundamental right and a civic responsibility and no employee in California should be denied the right to vote by an employer who refuses to grant a protected leave of absence for such purposes. In fact, it is against the law in California for an employer to prevent an employee from taking leave to vote on Election Day, so long as the employee provides advance notice of the leave, or to wrongfully discriminate against or otherwise take adverse employment action against a California employee who requests or takes voting leave. If your employer has wrongfully terminated you for exercising your right to voting leave, or if you have been denied the right to take a job-protected leave of absence to vote in a California election, you may have grounds to sue your employer for reinstatement and lost wages and benefits, among other damages. Consult our knowledgeable California employment law attorney at Davtyan PLC today to discuss your legal rights.

California Employee Voting Leave Rights

Similar to laws giving California employees the right to take protected time off work for military service, jury duty, school activities, or a qualifying family or medical reason, there is a leave law in effect in California that requires employers to provide voting leave to employees so they can vote in general elections or primaries. California polls are open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m., but not all employees have time before or after work to vote, especially if they do not work a regular 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. shift.

Voting Leave Requirements in CA

All California residents should have the ability to exercise their right to vote. As such, California voting leave laws apply to all private businesses and public agencies, regardless of how many workers they have in their employment, and give employees the right to take up to two paid hours of leave at the beginning or end of their regular working shift to vote, unless the employee and employer agree to other terms. California employees who intend to use voting leave must provide at least two working days advance notice of the requested leave, and the decision to take the leave at the beginning or end of their shift must be based on which option causes less disruption.

If, for any reason, an employee needs more than two hours to vote in a California election, he or she may take additional time as needed, without punishment, but only the first two hours will be paid. Additionally, California law prohibits employers from requiring that employees use their accrued vacation time or paid time off to cover the time they spend voting. California leave laws also prohibit employers from punishing, wrongfully terminating, discriminating against, or otherwise taking adverse employment action against employees who take time off work to vote, if they follow the law.

Contact Our CA Employment Law Attorneys for Help

In addition to the employee leave laws mandated at the federal level, many states have set their own standards for job-protected leaves of absence, and the state of California has some of the most protective leave laws in the country. Under California law, eligible employees have the right to take up to two hours off work to vote in statewide elections and employers are required to comply with these laws or face legal consequences. Any willful violation of California voting leave law is unlawful and any employee who is wrongfully punished for properly exercising their right to request or take voting leave may have grounds to file a lawsuit against their employer for damages. For more information about voting leave laws in California, or to find out how to file a lawsuit for a leave law violation, contact our experienced California employment law attorney at Davtyan PLC today.