Employer administering disciplinary action to an employee who takes a legitimate medical leave.

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Employer administering disciplinary action to an employee who takes a legitimate medical leave.

I recently took a short medical leave from my job on my Doctor’s advice. I’d been having serious medical problems for several months, I’d missed several days from work all of which I had provided medical documentation, and approximately a month before I took the leave my supervisor offered to give me a short leave. When my supervisor initially offered the leave, I turned it down, however, when my Doctor advised the leave I requested it from my employer. The leave was granted without hesitation. As with all previous medical concerns, I provided documentation from my Doctor. All is on file with HR, and I have retainedcopies of all of it. The leave was very short. One week. When I returned, my supervisor provided me with a probation form, and asked me to sign it. I read it carefully, in a comments section on the form I reiterated that all time I’d missed from work was for legitimate, and documented medical reasons, and under protest I signed the form. If there is any legal precedent against an employer taking an action such as this under circumstances such as this?

Asked on September 27, 2017 under Employment Labor Law, Georgia

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

There is no inherent right to miss work, even for documented and factually true medical reasons. The only time you can "safely" miss work, even for medical reasons, is if you either 1) use paid time off (PTO) you earned, like sick or vacation days, for the absences; or 2) were eligible for (and your employer covered by) the Family and Medical Leave Act (you can find the rules for FMLA on the U.S. Dept. Of Labor website) and you in fact used FMLA leave. Otherwise, except as above, your employer may take disciplinary action against you for missing work, since again, there is inherent right to miss work.

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

There is no inherent right to miss work, even for documented and factually true medical reasons. The only time you can "safely" miss work, even for medical reasons, is if you either 1) use paid time off (PTO) you earned, like sick or vacation days, for the absences; or 2) were eligible for (and your employer covered by) the Family and Medical Leave Act (you can find the rules for FMLA on the U.S. Dept. Of Labor website) and you in fact used FMLA leave. Otherwise, except as above, your employer may take disciplinary action against you for missing work, since again, there is inherent right to miss work.


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