Can my employer demand a doctor’s note of fitness to return to work if I never took any time off or even left early?

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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Can my employer demand a doctor’s note of fitness to return to work if I never took any time off or even left early?

I was complaining to a coworker that I had a sore throat, but still worked entire shift. I saw a doctor that night to test for strep, which was negative. I also had routine blood work done which was all negative. My manager caught wind of this and is now demanding a doctor’s note saying I am fit to return to work even though I never took time off for sickness and had a clean bill of health. Is it

invasive for her to have asked about my symptoms and appointments while not even at work? If I am an adult who says I am not and never was sick, can they require a note?

Asked on May 16, 2018 under Employment Labor Law, Michigan


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

Yes, she can require this. Employers have very broad discretion to take actions relating to the job or workplace, and your employer also has the right, unless you have a written employment contract to the contrary, to suspend or even terminate you at any time, for any reason ("employment at will"). The employer could request proof that you are not contagious, so as to avoid sickening other employees (and hurting productivity) or possibly customers or clients (and hurting sales): this is a reasonable, work-related request, and your employer can refuse to allow you to work until and unless you do this. Get a not from the doctor who did the tests for you.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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