Written discipline action for attendance despite MD note

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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Written discipline action for attendance despite MD note

I was given a written discipline for not having enough PTO hours to cover the time I was off work for a 4 days with a note from a physician. Is this legal?

Asked on December 20, 2017 under Employment Labor Law, Florida


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

It is completely legal. There is a common misunderstanding or misapprehension that a doctor's note excuses absences from work: it does not, unless the employer voluntarily chooses to let it do so. The doctor has no authority over the employer; and the law does NOT require employers to let employees have time off from work, even for medical reasons, unless:
1) The employee had accrued and used sufficient PTO to cover the whole absence; and/or 
2) The employer is covered by FMLA (50 or more employees within a 75-mile radius), the employee is eligible for FMLA (worked there at least one year; worked at least 1,250 hours in the past 12 months); the illness was serious enough to qualify (required at least 3 days out), and the employee used FMLA.
Only with FMLA or PTO are you allowed to miss work. Otherwise, you may be discipined, even terminated.

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