Using sick leave to attend a protest is a controversial issue. Employees thinking of doing this should consider the consequences carefully—as sick days exist for a reason: in case of employee illness.
Nonetheless, one can see how, at a time of social turbulence, people are tempted to claim a sick day in order to attend protests. American citizens should be able exercise their rights to peaceful assembly and free speech under the First Amendment. However, joining a demonstration whilst officially on sick leave claimed from an employer is risky business. If the employer finds out, that could very well mean the end of employment. That’s because there are two separate subjects intertwined here: 1. the right to demonstrate and 2. the right to take sick leave.