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

Answers:

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.


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