Can my work tell me I’m not allowed to go to a doctor’s appointment?

I have to go due to a surgery that I had. The doctor’s office doesn’t have anything later? Does one really have control over that?

Asked on September 18, 2018 under Employment Labor Law, Wisconsin

Answers:

M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 2 years ago | Contributor

Actually, your employer can do this. I'm assuming that you are not using any PTO (i.e. sick or vacation time ) to cover your absence. Accordingly, while they cannot physically restrain you and keep you at work, they can tell you not to go to an appointment, even a doctor's appointment. You then must make the decision as to whether or not to comply. If you don't, you can be disciplined, up to and including suspension or even termination. The fact is that most employment is "at will". This means that a company can set the conditions of the workplace much as it sees fit, absent some form of legally actionable discrimination. This includes why to discipline an employee. In fact, a worker can be suspended/terminated for any reason or no reason at all, unless there exists a union agreement or employment contract to the contrary.

M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 2 years ago | Contributor

Actually, your employer can do this. I'm assuming that you are not using any PTO (i.e. sick or vacation time ) to cover your absence. Accordingly, while they cannot physically restrain you and keep you at work, they can tell you not to go to an appointment, even a doctor's appointment. You then must make the decision as to whether or not to comply. If you don't, you can be disciplined, up to and including suspension or even termination. The fact is that most employment is "at will". This means that a company can set the conditions of the workplace much as it sees fit, absent some form of legally actionable discrimination. This includes why to discipline an employee. In fact, a worker can be suspended/terminated for any reason or no reason at all, unless there exists a union agreement or employment contract to the contrary. 


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