Can my employer not accept a doctor’s note?

My doctor wrote a note stating to please excuse me from work due to illness. Can my Employer put me on a plan and tell me that they don’t have to accept doctors’ notes.

Asked on May 11, 2016 under Employment Labor Law, Alaska


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

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

Yes, it is legally permissable for your employer to do this. The fact is that a doctor's note does not allow a worker to miss work. An employee can only miss work if they do one or both of the following: (1) they have and use PTO (e.g. sick leave or vacation days) to cover their absence; and/or (2) their employer is covered by and the employee is eligible for and uses FMLA unpaid leave. Otherwise, if they miss work, it will be considered to be an unauthorized absence. In other words, a doctor's note does not turn an unauthorized absence into an authorized one. The fact is that in most employment arrangements, a company can set the conditions of the workplace much as it sees fit. The only exceptions would be if an employee's treatment constituted some form of legally actionable discrimination or constituted a violation of company policy, union agreement or employment contract.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.