Can my boss give me medical advice?

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Can my boss give me medical advice?

I met with my boss to discuss the amount of work I haveand that it is too much. My boss said that they feel I should see my psychiatrist about my medication having an effect on me to cause this. Is that inappropriate? I felt like my legitimate concern was dismissed.

Asked on January 15, 2012 under Employment Labor Law, Massachusetts

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

Can your boss give you medical advice--yes, the same as your parent, spouse, sibling, neighbor, barrista or bartender, barber or hair stylist, friend, or random person at the bustop can give you medical advice. Pretty much anyone may legally opine on any topic.

Must you take your boss's medical advice? Yes and no--the boss cannot make you see a psychiatrist (or take any other medical step) if you don't want to, but could terminate you (unless you have a contract protecting your job) if he wants, if you do not do something he feels you should.

Must a boss take an employee's concern, even a legitimate one, seriously? No--no law requries any boss or employer to listen to or take seriously their employee's concerns, unless there is either an employment contract which in some fashion obligates them to, or in regards to certain very narrow topics defined by law (e.g. an employer needs to take a concern about discrimination seriously, or potentially face liability.).

Unfortunately, while you  may well be correct in that what your boss did was bad management--and even unfair and insulting--the law does not require employers to be well run, or to treat their employees fairly.


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