Do I have to disobey my doctor’s orders and return to work in order to keep from getting an unexcused absence?

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Do I have to disobey my doctor’s orders and return to work in order to keep from getting an unexcused absence?

My non-union employer says the only way to get an excused absence is by using leave under the F.M.L.A. or by using my vacation time. They don’t accept doctor’s excuses.

Asked on October 5, 2018 under Employment Labor Law, Illinois

Answers:

M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 2 years ago | Contributor

A doctor's note in not legally binding on an employer. It can choose to accept one to cover an worker's absence or not. The fact is that a company can set the conditions of the workplace much as it sees fit (absent some form of legally actionable discrimination). Accordingly, unless this action violates the terms of any applicable union agreement or employment contract, it is legal.

M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 2 years ago | Contributor

A doctor's note in not legally binding on an employer. It can choose to accept one to cover an worker's absence or not. The fact is that a company can set the conditions of the workplace much as it sees fit (absent some form of legally actionable discrimination). Accordingly, unless this action violates the terms of any applicable union agreement or employment contract, it is legal. 


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