Id Ihad to leave work early for a family emergency, can my empployer ask for proof?

UPDATED: Dec 14, 2011

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Id Ihad to leave work early for a family emergency, can my empployer ask for proof?

I got a phone call at work telling me that my spouse was in a car accident and was being taken to the hospital. I asked my manager if I could leave and they said yes. Now, they are asking for written proof of either the accident via police report or proof from the hospital. Since I was not involved in the accident nor treated at the hospital, can they ask for this information?

Asked on December 14, 2011 under Employment Labor Law, Florida


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

Yes, your employer may ask for proof of the emergency. First, be aware that unless your employer is large enough (at least 50 employees) to be covered by the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) or its state equivalent in your state--and you would also have to qualify under it, which typically means having worked there at least a year--there is no requirement to let you take time off or leave work for a family emergency. That is, unless FMLA applies, your employer could probably have terminated you for leaving, even for a family emergency, if it wanted to.

Second, whether the employer voluntarily chooses to let you leave for the family emergency or under FMLA, if it applies, they are entitled to ask for proof or confirmation of the emergency; they do not have to take you at your word. If you do not provide it, you may be terminated.

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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