Can my employer request a doctor’s note from me but not someone else?

For example: I rarely call in sick. But this past weekend, I missed 2 days due to a stomach virus. On the second day, they requested a doctor’s note. First: Do I actually have to see a doctor? Or can I get a note just requesting to be excused? Second: Do they have the right to pick and choose who, when, and why they are requesting a note from me? If they wait until the third day to request it from someone else, but then ask me for it on the second day, isn’t that discrimination/unfair?

Asked on August 17, 2015 under Employment Labor Law, California


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

Employers are allowed to be arbitrary and unfair, and the law does not enforce fairness in employment. An employer may treat two employees differently, and that is legal, with one exception
An employer may not discriminate on the basis of certain specifically protected characteristics, such as the main ones race, religion, age over 40, sex, or disability. If you believe that you are being treated differently due to such a reason, you may have an employment discrimination claim, and you may wish to speak with an employment law attorney to discuss the situation in detail and explore your rights and options.
However, unless specifically prohibited discrimination is going on, your employer may ask for something from you that it is not asking from other employees, or otherwise treat you differently and you have to provide whatever materials the employer is requesting.

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