Does your employer have the right to not let your doctor’s note excuse an absence?

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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Does your employer have the right to not let your doctor’s note excuse an absence?

My son had a concussion yesterday and I was out to take him to get looked at. I

called my supervisors and had informed them it was a serious issue. I told them I

would bring in a doctors note, which I did do. And then I was told that even

though I brought in a doctors note it did not excuse the absence. Is that even

legal? And if so why am I even bothering to go out of my way to get said doctors

note ?

Asked on March 22, 2018 under Employment Labor Law, Massachusetts


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

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

A doctor's note has no legal effect on an employer. A company can request that one be provided but can decide whether or not to honor it. That is unless such an action would violate the terms of any exisiting employment contract or union agreement. The fact is that most employment is "at will" which means that a company can set the conditions of employment much as it sees fit (absent some form of actionable discrimination).

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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