Is it legal for employer to demand you work under muscle relaxant side effects?

I have been to the ER where they put me on light duty and pescribed muscle relaxant. The side effects make me tired and dizzy and

my employer is saying to either go get another doctors note or I have to come to work. The drug facts say I should not even drive because it effects my alertness.

Asked on March 25, 2017 under Employment Labor Law, Washington


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

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

The fact is that a from a company is free to fire an at-will worker who misses too much work as attendance is a job requirement. That having been said, these type absences are protected if you are eligible to use: any available PTO or the FMLA (Family Medical Leave Act). Accordingly, unless this action violates the terms of an employment contract or union/collective bargaining agreement, your employer is free to set the conditions of the workplace much as it saw fit. This includes terminating a worker for their absences.

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

Yes, the doctor can demand you work, even when under muscle relaxant side effects, unless you use paid time off (PTO) you earned, like sick days, to stay out of work, or your employer is covered by, you are eligible for, your condition justifies, and you use unpaid FMLA leave to stay out of work. Otherwise, except as above, the law does not guaranty you the right to miss work or not work, even for medical issues, and you could be disciplined, up to and including being terminated, for not working when your employer tells you to.

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