Can my employer tell me not to come into work afteri I turned in a doctor’s note for light duty?

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Can my employer tell me not to come into work afteri I turned in a doctor’s note for light duty?

I have been with the hospital for 14 years and on Thursday I turned in a note from my doctor to keep me on light duty (my doctor enews this note about quarterly). I received a call from my supervisor on Friday telling me not to come into work on Friday, Saturday, or Sunday and on Monday to go see HR.

Asked on December 18, 2011 under Employment Labor Law, California

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

It depends on the situation. If your condition qualifies as a disability--which not all conditions do--then the employer must make "reasonable accomodations" if possible. However, that does not mean continuing to employ you if it does not have meaningful work for you to do--so if there is no longer meaningful "light duty" for you to do, the employer can tell you not to come into work rather than pay you for not actually doing anything useful or necessary.

Second, if your condition does not qualify as a disability, there is no obligation to accomodate; the employer may freely tell you not to come into work (or terminate you) if you can't do the the job for which you were hired.

Third, getting back to the situation of your condition qualifying as a disability--if the employer has reason to believe that are "scamming" them in some way--for example, that you actually are not disabled, but get a sympathetic doctor to keep marking you down for light duty when you don't need it--they could ask you to not work while they investigate it.


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