Can you be punished if you are sick and have a doctor’s note?

UPDATED: Oct 8, 2011

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Can you be punished if you are sick and have a doctor’s note?

I was sick and off for 2 days. I have a doctor’s note for both days. I gave my manger the note. But at work today my manger told me that I have to work on of my day off this week becuase I was sick and off last week. Is this legal?

Asked on October 8, 2011 under Employment Labor Law, Missouri


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

The law does not require sick days or sick leave, and it does not require companies to allow their employees to take time for illness, except and only to the extent the company and employee are both covered by the Family and Medical Leave Act and the employee specifically used it. A company is allowed to fire employees, if they wish for unexcused absenteeism, and the company also gets to decide what constitutes a valid excuse--and a doctor's note has absolutely no binding legal effect. So yes, unless you had an used sick days or some other PTO for your absences, in accordance with company policy, your employer can very likely require you work on yhour day off because you missed other word days.

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