I am the HR manager for our company and we have an employee that has a history of absences. With that being said she was out all last week, Monday she stated was due to personal reasons, Tuesday she had requested off, then Wednesday she said she was sick and would bring a note. The note she handed showed the dated of the exam to be Monday and excused her from work for the whole week. I believe the note is fake and was curious if I could call to verify the note. I do not want nor need any further information from the doctor, other than if the excuse was, in fact, written by their office on that Monday.
With the consent of the employee you can do so. BUT, if you are just fed up with the employee, there is little that stops the company from terminating the employee...note or not.
There is no employment law that prohibits you from contacting the doctor per se. The Americans With Disabilities Act does limit the type and amount of medical information that an employer is allowed to obtain in certain situations. However, simply verifying if the note is legitimate or not is not seeking or obtaining medical information of the type the ADA protects. The ADA applied to employers with at least 15 employees. Aside from employment law, HIPAA will likely prevent the doctor from providing you with the information you are seeking.
Keep in mind that other legal matters are at play as well. For example, if your company is FMLA covered and the employee is FMLA eligible, then a 5 day absence from work meets the inital threshold for a "serious health condition" which entitles the employee to protected leave. Also, may have some duties under the ADA if you are covered. In such a situation, I always encourage an employer to seek out advice from an experienced employment attorney. You can protect yourself and also may have a way to resolve the issues moving forward.
Kirk J. Angel, licensed in NC and TN, is an experienced attorney who focuses his practice on employment law. Mr. Angel, who has practiced employment law for more than 20 years, represents clients throughout North Carolina, Eastern and Middle Tennessee including federal employees. This response is for general informational purposes and does not constitute legal advice. Additionally, this response does not create an attorney client relationship. If you need legal advice, please contact a lawyer in your state who practices in the appropriate area.
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