Doctors note and employment

UPDATED: Sep 30, 2022

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Doctors note and employment

I had oral surgery and was given a doctor’s note for 3 days off from work. My employer said they do not accept doctor’s notes and then proceeded to put it against my attendance. This forcing me to attempt working while I’m supposed to be recovering from the surgery. Basically telling me I work or I will lose my job for attendance. Is this legal? And can they terminate my employment?

Asked on April 2, 2017 under Employment Labor Law, Wisconsin


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

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

A doctor's note is not legally binding on an employer. In other words, it need not be honored by it. Further, a company is free to terminate an at-will worker who misses too much work since attendance is a basic job requirement. That having been said, such absences are protected if: you use available PTO (i.e. sick or vacation time); the FMLA (Family and Medical Leave Act); the ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act); or workers' compensation laws. Otherwise, unless you have some protection under the terms of a union agreement or employment contract, your employer is free to set the conditions of the workplace much as it sees fit.

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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