What are my rights if my employer implied to me that an ER doctor’s excuse was not valid enough for me to be off work?

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What are my rights if my employer implied to me that an ER doctor’s excuse was not valid enough for me to be off work?

Now I’m forced to work while I’m very ill. I’m under a 90 day probation clause.

Asked on February 1, 2016 under Employment Labor Law, Alabama

Answers:

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

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

The fact is that when it comes to a doctor's note, an employer does not have to respect it or take it into account. An employer is free to fire employees who miss work, even with such a note, unless the employer's own policy says otherwise. Also, this action must not violate the terms of an employment contract or union agreement and the employee's treatment must not be due to some form of actionable discrimination. Bottom line, as a general rule, a company can set the terms and conditions of employment much as it sees fit.
Note: The law only provides minimal protection for being ill or disabled at work. Under the FMLA (i.e. Family and Medical Leave Act), a covered employer must provide leave time for "serious illnesss," which are defined as basically being 3 days or more of being impaired and/or under a doctor's care; if the employee has an actual disability the employer must try to reasonably accomodate them. 


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