I need to know if an employer can’t honor a doctors note?

UPDATED: Sep 30, 2022

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I need to know if an employer can’t honor a doctors note?

My employer told me that they did not have to honor a doctors note on restrictions. Even though they told me that they had asked for another one because they more less said I was falsifying them. My restrictions were not to work more than 40 hours a week and limited walking which I sit at a desk. This started in October of this year and they honored them but in December they did not honor them. I am currently off on medical leave for the past 3 weeks and filed for STD which I have not received yet. They told me when I go back I have to bring a doctors note if I still have restrictions and they will talk about it.

Asked on December 27, 2016 under Employment Labor Law, Wisconsin


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

It is a common misconception that an employer must honor a doctor's note; however, the doctor has no legal authority over any business but his/her own practice and cannot require your employer to do anything.
An employer's obligation is to make "reasonable accommodations" to a disability. Reasonable accommodations are changes in workplace rules or procedures, or porovision of some assistive technology or device, that is not too expensive or disruptive for the employer *and* which lets the employee do his or her job.
Notabley, a reduction in hours is not a reasonable accommodation the employer must typically make: it is not considered reasonable to limit the hours the employee works, since to do so can leave the employer understaffed and/or require the employer to hire employees to carry the load.
As for walking, if your job can be done without much walking, they should honor it; but if your job necessarily involves walking, then it is not reasonable to let you not walk.  So if you have a sales floor job, where you have to walk and help customers, or a security job, where you have to do rounds, or a warehouse job, where you have to be able to walk rows of good and pick items to ship, etc. where walking is core to your job, the employer does not need to honor this restriction.
If you believe the employer should make these accommodations to or for you, you can try to file a complaint with the EEOC; but be aware that it may bet that these accommodations they do not need to make.

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 AttorneyPages.com 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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