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Thread: Can a doctor's note excuse an absence from work due to med problems? Massachusetts

  1. #1
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Berkshires, Mass

    Exclamation Can a doctor's note excuse an absence from work due to med problems? Massachusetts

    My fiance has been at his job for atleast 6 months now. He has always been a dedicated worker and is never late. He suffers from insulin dependent diabetes. He has missed some work due to his blood sugar being to high or to low and having to go to the er. He tried to present his workplace with a doctors note and they refused to take it. They said that a note from a doctor does not cover him for an absence. He has gone to work with his sugar uncontrolled and ended up passing out on the men's room floor on 2 different occasions, waking up to being herassed and made fun of by other employees. He has also spent a numerous amount of time violently vomiting in the restroom due to his sugar.
    Does his place of employment have the legal right to refuse a doctor's note???

  2. #2
    Super Moderator
    Join Date
    May 2005


    Yes, they do. Outside of FMLA, which does not apply here since he has not worked there long enough, a doctor's note has no force in law and the employer has no legal obligation to excuse an absence for which there is a doctor's note. You may not be aware that fake doctor's notes are available for sale (for only a few dollars) on the Internet; also that some doctors will provide a note any time an employee wants a day off. The law does not give the doctor the right to run the employer's business.

    It's a shame that the employer is so uncaring of his problems, but they are not violating the law by refusing to excuse an absence for which there is a doctor's note.

    Edited to add; he might want to discuss with his doctor whether or not the ADA might apply, but EVEN IF IT DOES they are not legally obligated to automatically excuse all medically related absences.
    Last edited by cbg; 11-02-2009 at 08:28 PM.

  3. #3
    Super Moderator
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Il.(near STL,Mo.)


    There is no law that a doctor's note has to be accepted by an employer as an excuse for an absence except under a law such as FMLA. (& that's about it) He hasn't been with his employer long enough to qualify for FMLA leave. (12 mos. needed + other requirements need to be met)

    How many employees is there where he works? He "might" qualify for protection under federal or state disability laws. It's according to whether a reasonable accommodation can be made for his disability. It's not automatic. Diabetes can qualify in "some" cases. I don't know if giving him some time off from work when needed or time off to get his diabetes under control would be accepted as a reasonable accommodation or not in his case. It can't be an accommodation that has an undue hardship on the employer.
    Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around. Leo Buscaglia

    Live in peace with animals. Animals bring love to our hearts and warmth to our souls.

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