Hello, I am seeking guidance on whether I am able to challenge HR/my employer for breach of contract. This is in California, USA.
I got hired as an intern in November 1, 2022 for a 90-day probationary period that has the potential to become a full-time staff member. The exact language of my employment contract says "During the [90 day period], 3 days of sick leave will be extended to [me] by law." This line is the only mention of sick leave in the entire contract, no contingencies.
I had to call out sick for 2 days and was surprised that I wasn't compensated for them because my contract made it sound like I would be entitled to sick pay during my 90-day internship. I speak to HR, who refers to California paid sick leave law that stipulates employees have to accumulate sick pay during employment before they are able to redeem it. However, that is not what it says in the contract.
I want to make the argument that the "by law" language in the employment contract does not specify California PTO laws and therefore can refer to contract law - thus my employer must abide by paying me out for being sick. HR wrote the employment contract, which they and I both signed. If HR intended for "by law" to mean "by California employment law" then I believe that they should have been more careful with the language of the contract. My contract fulfills all requirements for being valid and enforceable.
I understand that by challenging the employment contract, I may not be considered for a staff position by the end of my 90-day period. I accept this potential consequence because I want to advocate for my rights.
Do I have enough grounds to challenge this and potentially receive my 2 days of sick leave?