Is it legal for an employer to require an employee to work/on call wihile the employee is out of work under a doctor’s care?

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Is it legal for an employer to require an employee to work/on call wihile the employee is out of work under a doctor’s care?

Asked on July 26, 2011 North Carolina


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 12 years ago | Contributor

Unless one (or more) of the following applies--

1) You are using some legally protected leave, such as federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) leave;

2) You are using paid time off you have earned or accrued;

3) You have an agreement from the employee allowing you to take time off for medical care (either as part of a general contract or union agreement, or an agreement relating to this specific situation)

4) The medical condition amounts to a "disability," and some time off would be considered a "reasonable accomodation"--and note that not every medical issue is a disability, and also not everything requested by a disabled employee is a reasonable accomodation

--employers do *not* need to let you take time off from work for medical reason.  That is, except when when of the above applies, an employer can expect and employee to be available for work, even if the employee is sick, injured, under a doctor's care, etc., and can fire that employee is he or she does not show up.

Therefore, the answer depends on your specific circumstances. You should consult with an employment attorney to evaluate them in detail and determine your rights.

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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