Can an employer authenticate a doctors note?
2 attorney answers
There is nothing really improper in your employer verifying whether the doctor's note is real. Although you might think it's offensive that he doesn't trust you, you can understand where the employer is coming from in this situation. While it might be against the laws for doctors to disclose confidential medical information and for employers to seek such information, simply verifiying the authenticity of the note does not violate any laws.
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This is a rather unorthodox way for your employer to verify your doctor’s note. Did your employer have a good faith basis to do this? Did the doctor’s note appear fabricated? Does your employer have a written sick leave policy in place for which you were eligible?
I am not sure the employer’s act was unlawful, but I am also not sure that it was wise, either. In terms of your doctor’s disclosures to your employer, there is a California statute that generally prohibits a doctor from disclosing any information about an employee’s medical condition other than whether an employee is able to work: the California Confidentiality of Medical Information Act (CMIA). (California Civil Code §§ 56 et seq.) So, if your medical condition was not discussed, then your doctor (or his or her staff) likely did not violate the CMIA.
In addition to CMIA, there are broader privacy rights rooted in article I, section 1 of the California Constitution and the common law. However, I do not think you can rely on these authorities for potential claims based on your circumstances.
In sum, I don’t think you have any legal recourse based on the information you have provided.