Can an employer threaten to take paid vacation for absences for which doctor’s notes have been provided?

My boss is penalizing us by taking away earned paid vacation or earned anniversary bonuses for time missed even if there is a doctor’s note excusing the absence. Is this legal?

Asked on July 3, 2012 under Employment Labor Law, Colorado


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

A doctor's note does NOT "excuse" an absence--the doctor has no authority to make an employer allow employees to miss work, or require that absences for medical care or illness be paid. If you missed work without employer permission and without  using Family and Medical Leave Act leave, your employer could have terminated you; alternately, it could require you to use  your paid leave to cover the unapproved absence.

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