Can an employer ask an employee to take time off due to mental health issues and about health information?

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Can an employer ask an employee to take time off due to mental health issues and about health information?

I suffer from panic /anxiety and ptsd disorder . I
had two attacks at work a week apart and
not work related. When they do happen it does
take me out for the day. They are
unpredictable. My boss made me take time off
till I saw my doctor and got a release to go
back to work and that I inform them of any
health information… such as if I am seeking
help , who , when , any meds .
I don’t feel they can ask this of me. I am able to
do my job .
Can they do this and what are my rights when
it comes to disclosing my health information
and making me take time off ?

Asked on June 28, 2017 under Employment Labor Law, California

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

However, you evidently *can't* do your job as things stand, based on what you write: within around a week, you had two panic attacks which took you out--presumably out of work, since your boss was aware of them--for a day each time. You also write that they are unpredictible--i.e. they could happen at work. Your employer has the right to make sure you can do your job, that you will not miss work without warning, that you will not disrupt the workplace, and that you will not pose a threat to yourself, coworkers, or customers in any way. They can tell you to not return to work under these conditions, of you having panic attacks that can disrupt or incapacitate you for a day at a time, until you can provide some reasonable assurance that it is safe and appropriate for you to be at work. Once your mental health issues affect or threaten to affect your employer, they are no longer your issues alone.


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