Can I ask my employee for a doctor’s note if they are absent due to a sick child?

Asked on July 11, 2015 under Employment Labor Law, North Carolina


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

Yes, you legally may: employers may require employees to document the reasons that they miss work. Be sure that you apply this policy even-handedly (e.g. ask all employees, male or female, if they take time out to care for a sick relative and--preferably--if they miss work for their own illness): you don't want to inadvertantly be seen as discriminating against women if, say, you ask a working mother to prove her child's illness, but don't ask a male employee to prove an illness keeping him out of work. While companies can have any policies they like about sick time, etc., it is important to be even-handed in those policies.

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