can employers in hawaii refuse to accept a doctors note?

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can employers in hawaii refuse to accept a doctors note?

I have an employee who is chronically missing work. Can I legally refuse to accept her doctors note and record the absence as unexcused in her personnel file?

Asked on August 15, 2016 under Employment Labor Law, Hawaii

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

Unless you have some evidence that her doctor's note is false, you should not record what may be false in her personnel file because if that gets "out" somehow--e.g. other employees become aware of and talk about the she falsified a doctor's note--that could potentially lead to defamation liability.
On the other hand:
1) There is no law that says that employees can miss work even with a doctor's note, unless a) they have and use paid time off that they earned to cover the absence; b) are following (to the letter) the company's then-current policy about "calling out," if the company has one; or c) the company is covered by, the employee is eligible for, the circumstances warrant, and the employee properly uses FMLA leave or leave under some similar state law. Otherwise, there is no inherent right to be absent from work, so if he she was out without using PTO, FMLA, or following your company's call out policy (if it has one, again), she can be terminated, doctor's note or not.
2) If she doesn't have an employment contract, she's an employee at will and if you don't like or want her as an employee, you can terminate her.


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