Why Employers Might Request a Doctor’s Note For FMLA | Mann & Elias
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Why Employers Might Request a Doctor’s Note For FMLA

Attorney for Medical Leave Denial and FMLA Violations

You might have to take time off to recover from a serious illness, care for a loved one, or bond with a new child during your career. The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) protects your right to job-protected leave during uncertain and unpredictable times.

Why you decide to utilize FMLA might be pertinent to your employer, depending on your situation. In some cases, upper management might request a doctor’s note or additional medical information to verify your request. It might feel like an invasion of privacy, but under HIPAA’s Privacy Rule they have a right to ask for a doctor’s note and limited health information to arrange FMLA, sick leave or time off.

A family medical leave lawyer encourages employees to be as detailed and informative as possible to omit the need for additional information when you submit a request.

What Reasons Qualify For FMLA

FMLA was established in 1993 to give qualifying employees working for covered employers 12 weeks of unpaid time off for family or medical reasons. Before the ruling most Americans endured retaliation or wrongful termination if they chose to take much-needed time off. With the act in place, employees were granted time to re-adjust and balance responsibilities at home before returning to the workplace. Covered reasons for FMLA include:

  • Helping an ill family member
  • Healing time for a serious health condition
  • Bonding with a newborn or adopted child
  • Caring for a family member injured in the military
  • Addressing the needs of a family member who is active in the military

Severe health conditions are considered as illnesses, injuries, or conditions involving:

  • Permanent or long-term injury
  • Pregnancy or birth-related conditions
  • A chronic/serious health condition that requires treatment
  • Injury for more than three days with treatment by a health care provider
  • Conditions requiring multiple treatments that could result in incapacity if left untreated

Employers are legally required to continue paying for your health benefits although FMLA is unpaid leave. If not, consult with a labor attorney for employees to discuss this violation of your rights.

How To Request FMLA From Your Employer

Requesting FMLA is straightforward. Employees must give employers 30 days’ notice for foreseeable reasons like childbirth. Although if the leave is unforeseeable, like a severe car accident injury or medical injury, employers should be notified as soon as possible.

It allows the employer to configure how to conduct business while you’re out of the office. To apply you will need to submit the FMLA Notification Form for approval. If the reason for your leave is unclear, employers can request further information or a doctor’s note from your healthcare provider. An FMLA Medical Certification Form must incorporate the following information to verify your condition:

  • Date the injury or illness began
  • Duration of the health condition
  • Supporting medical information regarding the condition
  • Make sure your doctor includes a note verifying you cannot work or that leave is required to care for a family member.

If it is still unclear, or your employer doubts the certification, FMLA allows them to pursue a second or third opinion. They can also request a recertification form from the healthcare provider every 30 days, unless:

  • You request an extension of leave
  • There has been a massive change in your health
  • The employer obtained information doubting your reasons for leaving

Doctor’s Notes Are Not Required

California courts rule employers cannot implement policies requiring their workers to provide doctors’ notes for each leave. FMLA limits how much information an employer can acquire and inquire about your medical history. Asking you to provide a doctor’s note for each absence goes against your rights and warrants an employment law attorney to come to enforce your rights.

About Mann & Elias

The Law Offices of Mann & Elias is an employment law firm that provides guidance and legal support for individuals facing issues in the workplace. We represent clients at every level of the state and federal court systems.

When you retain one of our lawyers, you will be well-protected and advised. While there are thousands of lawyers to choose from, we believe our success is rooted in:

  • 50+ years of trial experience
  • Excellent advocacy skills
  • Intense preparation and research
  • Quality care

Since our partnership began over 20 years ago, we have settled hundreds of claims, completed 100 jury and bench trials, and recovered more than $18 million in settlements. For dedicated representation with no upfront fees, give us a call at 323-866-9564 or email info@mannelias.com.


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