Is it legal for my employer to deny a doctor’s appointment?

Our employer does not provide sick time off or, vacation or any types of benefits. So whenever I need to make a doctor’s appointment we need to fill out this form with proper advance notice which I think it’s fair however I am given a really hard time every time i request a non paid day off for health reasons. Now I’m not a sickly person i just happened to have chipped a tooth and set an appointment, however that chipped tooth got infected and that appointment needed to be pushed up. I’m fearful that I may get fired if I go to that appointment because even though I did let a manager know that, the previous appointment might need to be pushed forward. He is now telling me that he will not approve the appointment even though it’s causing me pain and I’m under antibiotics for treatment. can they really deny me to take a dentist visit? What can I do?

Asked on April 28, 2016 under Employment Labor Law, Florida

Answers:

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

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

Your employer can prohibit you from taking time off from work to go to a dental appointment. The fact is that you can still go on during non-work hours. Most employment is "at will" which means that a company can set the terms and conditions of employment much a sit sees fit. The exceptions to this would be: if there exists company policy or any applicable union agreement or employment contract to the contrary, or your treatment constitutes some form of legally actionable discrimination (which you gave no indication of). Unfortunately, your only recourse is to go to the appointment and risk termination or quit. 

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

No, they are not denying you to go to the dentist: they are denying you to go during your working hours. You could make an appointment on a weekend or after hours; if this dentist doesn't have such hours, you could look for one who does. The law does not require employers to let employees have time off for doctor and dentist visits during work (if the employees don't have and use sick time); employers may legally require that you be at work. So yes, your employer can refuse to let you take time off from or during work for this.


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