When can you ask for Dr. Note from employee changing availability in schedule due to therapist visit

I need to know if there is anything wrong with asking an employee for a Dr. note who had to change her schedule and availability on Fridays due to therapist visits?  She disclosed this in an email to HR.



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  • As an employer, do you fall under FMLA and is she personally eligible ?  If so, you can require that she fill out FMLA paperwork to see if the absences fall under FMLA. Then you can ask for her to plan her (foreseen) intermittent leave to impact the business/company the least. And you can get an upated  every 6 months or whenever there is a change in need.  For FMLA, it is the employer's responsibility to know and start the process

    If not, the question becomes ADA.  Does she have a disability? This is something you want the employee to bring to you -- which she might have based on her request. Is this schedule change her way of asking for a reasonable accommodation? If so,  you can ask for documentation under ADA. Are Fridays off a reasonable accommodation(RA) ? The RA does not have to be the exact one that the employee wants, just one that solves the issue.

    That said, what is your company policy on employees' schedules? Who makes them? Who approves them? Etc? My answer along with ADA and FMLA is going to depend on that.  Does she have to request a change or does she set her own hours?

    There is a great document by the EEOC that details the interaction between ADA and FMLA. Unfortunately I can't post a link..just google "EEOC FMLA ADA" and it should come up within the first few hits.

  • No FMLA and we are in the state of Oregon.
  • Since you are in Oregon, you also need to take into account OFLA if you have more than 25 employees and it looks like the individual ee eligibility is lower than under FMLA.  But again, you often can request the documentation under FMLA, OFLA or ADA.  If none of them apply, you can still ask for a dr's note if it is a policy you want to have.

  • I agree with everything HRforME has said, and add only that you should be careful not to allow your discussions with the employee to cross over into impermissible medical inquiries.  ADA addresses not only reasonable accomodations, but also unreasonable medical inquiry.  It also requires medical information to be stored separately from the employee file, and notes from doctors are generally thought to contain "medical information."
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