Victory: Diane Wilkes Finally Gets Paid for Her Sick Days!

Earlier this month, we blogged about Diane Wilkes, who was fired just before Christmas for missing work when she was sick. Today, we’re excited to report that Ms. Wilkes finally got some of the money she was owed for her sick days under the DC’s Accrued Sick and Safe Leave Act (a law EJC helped pass in 2008). Hear Ms. Wilkes tell her full story here.

Ms. Wilkes, like millions of other Americans, fell ill during what has been a terrible flu season. After ending up in the hospital, she phoned her office cleaning employer several times to say she was sick and would need to take her sick days to recover. Nevertheless, her employer fired Ms. Wilkes after her illness, right before Christmas, leaving her unable to afford the Christmas gifts for her grandchildren.

Ms. Wilkes came to the EJC’s Workers’ Rights Clinic a few weeks later. She explained how mistreated she felt when she was fired just for getting sick. Since she began her job in 2009, she had only missed a day once to attend a funeral of a loved one. EJC Advocacy Associate, Naomi Iser escorted Ms. Wilkes to the Office of Wage and Hour to fill out a form for the 4 sick days she took and was never paid for upon termination.

After calling the office several times over the weeks that followed, in late January, Ms. Wilkes learned that her employer had agreed to pay her $108 for the days she was sick. Although this was less than the full amount she was owed, Ms. Wilkes is accepted the offer, finally feeling some recognition for the injustice of her termination. Even more important, Ms. Wilkes finally has the income she needs to buy her grandchildren some belated Christmas gifts.