What rights does my employer have regarding a doctor’s restrictions letter?

UPDATED: Mar 29, 2012

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What rights does my employer have regarding a doctor’s restrictions letter?

I brought in a work restrictions letter from my Doctor. All it states is what I can or can’t do. Does my employer have the right to ask me to get a different letter stating as to why I can’t do these restrictions?

Asked on March 29, 2012 under Employment Labor Law, Wisconsin


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

Yes, your employer has the right to request further detail or clarification. First, bear in mind that unless your condition actually rises to the level of "disability," so that you would be protected under anti-discrimination law, your employer is entitled to terminate you if you can't or won't do the job for which it hired you. Even if your condition is severe enough to be a disability, the employer's only obligation is to make "reasonable accomodations"--which are changes in duties, or provision of assistive technology or devices, which are not too expensive or disruptive for it. Therefore, the employer has a right to more information to understand whether it has to make reasonable accomodations and what they might be--or whether this is a case where it cannot realistically accomodate you, and therefore again, might be entitled to terminate you.

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