Can my employer tell me not to come into work afteri I turned in a doctor’s note for light duty?

UPDATED: Dec 18, 2011

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Can my employer tell me not to come into work afteri I turned in a doctor’s note for light duty?

I have been with the hospital for 14 years and on Thursday I turned in a note from my doctor to keep me on light duty (my doctor enews this note about quarterly). I received a call from my supervisor on Friday telling me not to come into work on Friday, Saturday, or Sunday and on Monday to go see HR.

Asked on December 18, 2011 under Employment Labor Law, California


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

It depends on the situation. If your condition qualifies as a disability--which not all conditions do--then the employer must make "reasonable accomodations" if possible. However, that does not mean continuing to employ you if it does not have meaningful work for you to do--so if there is no longer meaningful "light duty" for you to do, the employer can tell you not to come into work rather than pay you for not actually doing anything useful or necessary.

Second, if your condition does not qualify as a disability, there is no obligation to accomodate; the employer may freely tell you not to come into work (or terminate you) if you can't do the the job for which you were hired.

Third, getting back to the situation of your condition qualifying as a disability--if the employer has reason to believe that are "scamming" them in some way--for example, that you actually are not disabled, but get a sympathetic doctor to keep marking you down for light duty when you don't need it--they could ask you to not work while they investigate it.

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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