Can My Employer Request a Doctor’s Note?

As an employee, you may sometimes need to take time off due to medical reasons. In such cases, your employer might ask you for documentation, like a doctor’s note, to verify the legitimacy of your absence. However, are employers in New Jersey legally allowed to request a doctor’s note from their employees? The answer is not as straightforward as you might think.

The primary law that governs the request for a doctor’s note in New Jersey is the New Jersey Earned Sick Leave Law (ESLL), which went into effect in 2018. This law requires employers to provide paid sick leave to employees who work in the state.

Under the ESLL, employers must provide up to 40 hours of paid sick leave per benefit year to eligible employees, which can be used for various reasons, including:

  • Personal or family member’s illness, injury, or health condition.
  • Preventative care or treatment.
  • Issues related to domestic or sexual violence.
  • School or workplace closures due to public health emergencies.
  • Attendance at school-related events or meetings.

According to the ESLL, employers may request documentation, such as a doctor’s note, if an employee takes three or more days of sick leave. However, this request cannot be made until after the employee has used the sick leave. It is important to note that the law does not explicitly require employees to provide a doctor’s note but allows employers to request reasonable documentation.

While the ESLL guides when employers can request a doctor’s note, you should also be aware of other laws that may impact these requests, such as HIPAA and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Both of these laws protect your medical privacy, and employers must ensure that their requests for medical documentation do not violate these protections.

Potential Legal Issues

Your employer should be cautious when requesting doctor’s notes, as potential legal issues may arise. For example, if an employer asks for a doctor’s note in a situation not covered by the ESLL or violates your medical privacy rights under HIPAA or the ADA, they could face legal repercussions.

The requirement of providing a doctor’s note can have various impacts on you, including potential invasion of privacy, increased stress, and financial burden due to the cost of obtaining a note.

South Jersey Employment Lawyers at The Law Offices of Leo B. Dubler, III, LLC Can Protect Your Sick Leave Rights

When you must take time off work for an illness, your employer may request a doctor’s note. Doing so could violate your rights at work. Today, speak with our South Jersey employment lawyers at The Law Offices of Leo B. Dubler, III, LLC. Call us at 856-235-7075 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation and learn more about the support and service we can provide. Located in Mount Laurel and Atlantic City, New Jersey, we proudly serve clients in South Jersey, including Cherry Hill, Burlington County, and Camden County.