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Does an employer have to comply with a doctors note that specifies transfer employee to a different facility due to stress

Redondo Beach, CA |

On disability and dr note says return to work if transferred to a different facility

Attorney Answers 5


No. Employee's doctors do not get to tell employers what to do. A doctor can make a recommendation perceived to be necessary to reasonably accommodate an employee with a disability. But the employer can explore any number of ways to accommodate the employee's disability to enable the employee to perform the essential functions of the job. There should be an interactive process involved.

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Mr. Kirschbaum is correct. A physician cannot compel an employer to take any specific action. However if the employee has some kind of disability then the interactive process to determine reasonable accommodations to provide the employee with the ability to perform the job should be used.

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If you think about it, you will yourself find the fallacy implicit in what you are asking about.

Most multi-site employers have a site or two that is "the best" or the favored one among employees. And most multi-site employers have one or more sites that serve as career exile or are viewed as a lesser opportunity, for one reason or another. Don't you imagine that every ambitious employee would get a doc's note requiring that they be assigned to the good site, and not to the bad site, for reasons of stress and emotional well-being -- if that is how it all worked? Getting the requisite doc's note would overnight become the basic employee test of intelligence and ambition. This is just one reason why employers are not hostage to the specifications of employees' personal physicians.

Seriously, you need to be cautious here: presenting yourself as an employee with special needs based on emotional upset and stress (especially if the claims are based on events in the course of your employment) can be a one-way ticket to being disliked and unwanted/unvalued by the employer. Once that happens, you may have legal claims, depending on how skilled are the employer and the employer's legal counsel. But a lawsuit is often not as good as even an unsatisfying job. You need to talk with two specific kinds of attorney: workers comp and employment law.

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Disabled employees are entitled to "reasonable accommodations," but not the accommodations of their choosing. You and your employer need to engage in an interactive process to determine how your medical needs can be address in a manner that allows you to perform the essential functions of your job without imposing undue hardship on your employer.

This answer is a general interpretation of the law and is not fact specific to your case. Likewise it does not create an attorney-client relationship. You should seek an attorney for a review of your specific facts and documents.

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Hello Redondo Beach! Sorry to hear about your predicament. Generally, where an employee is a qualified individual suffering from a disability covered by FEHA, the employer must reasonably accommodate the employee. An employee is a qualified individual if she can perform the essential functions of the job with or without accommodation. Under FEHA, ‘reasonable accommodation’ means a modification or adjustment to the workplace that enables the employee to perform the essential functions of the job held or desired.

A reasonable accommodation may include either of the following: (1) Making existing facilities used by employees readily accessible to, and usable by, individuals with disabilities. (2) Job restructuring, part-time or modified work schedules, reassignment to a vacant position, acquisition or modification of equipment or devices, adjustment or modifications of examinations, training materials or policies, the provision of qualified readers or interpreters, and other similar accommodations for individuals with disabilities.

The employer providing the accommodation has the ultimate discretion to choose between effective accommodations, and may choose the less expensive accommodation or the accommodation that is easier for it to provide” not necessarily the accommodation sought by the employee. An employer is not obligated to provide an employee the accommodation he requests or prefers, the employer need only provide some reasonable accommodation.

So, unfortunately, in short, the answer is no. The employer need accommodate you if you have a disability which causes you to require accommodations to fulfill the essential functions of your job. Which accommodations the employer provides depends on what is least burdensome to the employer. I hope the full explanation above will assist you in coming up with additional creative solutions with your employer.

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