Employer wants letter from Doctor

April L.
on 8/3/04 11:41 am - Minot, ND
I am scheduled for a September 7 surgery date. In requesting time off for the recovery the executive director at my company wants a letter from my doctor stating that the surgery is medically necessary. Am I wrong to be offended by this? Is anyone else going through this? I do not care to have my doctor communicate any medical information whatsoever with my employer. They don't pass approval for this surgery just for the kicks. I just can't believe it.
Bev B.
on 8/3/04 12:27 pm - Clayton, NC
Hi April, I hope you have a great doctor that won't hesitate to write this letter!! Tell me it's so! Your doctor doesn't have to give up any medical info, just a letter stating it's a medical necessity. Period! Keep us posted Bev
on 8/3/04 10:11 pm - W. Bridgewater, MA
I don't know about your company policy but here where I work I do not have to tell my employer why I am having surgery except that I need to take time off for surgery. It is none of their business if it is medically necessary or not. They have no right to ask you to have your doctor reveal anything from your medical records. You don't have to disclose that. It is doctor/patient confidentiality. To passify them I would have your doctor just say in a very very brief note that its medically necessary. If that will keep them happy. Although why they need that I don't understand. I find that very unusual. Before you do anything though ask them why they need to know this information. Then I would talk to my doctor about this too. Do you have a good relationship with your surgeon? I would do that before I have the doc write anything to them. Go to your HR dept. and talk to them and ask why they need to know this. Again, I find that very very odd. I find it really weird that they need to know this information. I really don't believe that you have to disclose that info to them. But this is just my honest opinion. Good Luck and please let us know what happens. Erin
Scary L.
on 8/4/04 1:55 pm
Let me know if you need more info With the FMLA all you have to do is go to your employer HR dept and ask for the FMLA paperwork. Once you do this you are protected by federal Law. But first you must make sure you qualify for it. 1Eligible employee means: (stated from 29 CFR 825.800 of the FMLA) (1) An employee who has been employed for a total of at least 12 months by the employer on the date on which any FMLA leave is to commence; and (2) Who, on the date on which any FMLA leave is to commence, has been employed for at least 1,250 hours of service with such employer during the previous 12-month period; and (3) Who is employed in any State of the United States, the District of Columbia or any Territories or possession of the United States. (4) Excludes any Federal officer or employee covered under subchapter V of chapter 63 of title 5, United States Code; and (5) Excludes any employee of the U.S. Senate or the U.S. House of Representatives covered under title V of the FMLA; and (6) Excludes any employee who is employed at a worksite at which the employer employs fewer than 50 employees if the total number of employees employed by that employer within 75 miles of that worksite is also fewer than 50. (7) Excludes any employee employed in any country other than the United States or any Territory or possession of the United States. Employ means to suffer or permit to work. Employee has the meaning given the same term as defined in section 3(e) of the Fair Labor Standards Act, 29 U.S.C. 203(e), as follows: (1) The term ``employee'' means any individual employed by an employer; (2) In the case of an individual employed by a public agency, ``employee'' means-- (i) Any individual employed by the Government of the United States-- (A) As a civilian in the military departments (as defined in section 102 of Title 5, United States Code), (B) In any executive agency (as defined in section 105 of Title 5, United States Code), excluding any Federal officer or employee covered under subchapter V of chapter 63 of Title 5, United States Code, (C) In any unit of the legislative or judicial branch of the Government which has positions in the competitive service, excluding any employee of the U.S. Senate or U.S. House of Representatives who is covered under Title V of FMLA, (D) In a nonappropriated fund instrumentality under the jurisdiction of the Armed Forces, or (ii) Any individual employed by the United States Postal Service or the Postal Rate Commission; and (iii) Any individual employed by a State, political subdivision of a State, or an interstate governmental agency, other than such an individual-- (A) Who is not subject to the civil service laws of the State, political subdivision, or agency which employs the employee; and (B) Who-- (1) Holds a public elective office of that State, political subdivision, or agency, (2) Is selected by the holder of such an office to be a member of his personal staff, (3) Is appointed by such an officeholder to serve on a policymaking level, (4) Is an immediate adviser to such an officeholder with respect to the constitutional or legal powers of the office of such officeholder, or (5) Is an employee in the legislative branch or legislative body of that State, political subdivision, or agency and is not employed by the legislative library of such State, political subdivision, or agency. Employee employed in an instructional capacity. See Teacher. Employer means any person engaged in commerce or in an industry or activity affecting commerce who employs 50 or more employees for each working day during each of 20 or more calendar workweeks in the current or preceding calendar year, and includes-- (1) Any person who acts, directly or indirectly, in the interest of an employer to any of the employees of such employer; (2) Any successor in interest of an employer; and (3) Any public agency. (A) A period of incapacity (i.e., inability to work, attend school or perform other regular daily activities due to the serious health condition, treatment therefore, or recovery therefrom) of more than three consecutive calendar days, including any subsequent treatment or period of incapacity relating to the same condition 29 CFR 825.220 - How are employees protected *****quest leave or otherwise assert FMLA rights? (2) changing the essential functions of the job in order to preclude the taking of leave; (3) reducing hours available to work in order to avoid employee eligibility. (c) An employer is prohibited from discriminating against employees or prospective employees who have used FMLA leave. For example, if an employee on leave without pay would otherwise be entitled to full benefits (other than health benefits), the same benefits would be required to be provided to an employee on unpaid FMLA leave. By the same token, employers cannot use the taking of FMLA leave as a negative factor in employment actions, such as hiring, promotions or disciplinary actions; nor can FMLA leave be counted under ``no fault'' attendance policies. (d) Employees cannot waive, nor may employers induce employees to waive, their rights under FMLA. For example, employees (or their collective bargaining representatives) cannot ``trade off'' the right to take FMLA leave against some other benefit offered by the employer. This does not prevent an employee's voluntary and uncoerced acceptance (not as a condition of employment) of a ``light duty'' assignment while recovering from a serious health condition (see Sec. 825.702(d)). In such a cir****tance the employee's right to restoration to the same or an equivalent position is available until 12 weeks have passed within the 12-month period, including all FMLA leave taken and the period of ``light duty.''
on 8/4/04 10:31 pm - W. Bridgewater, MA
Larry you're good! April please let us know what's going on when you get a chance. Erin
on 8/6/04 2:58 am - Milwaukee, WI
I was going to say the same thing, Erin I had a similar situation last year when I had my hernia repaired. I'd handed in my paperwork to the appropriate people and someone in our HR dept who is known for being nosey asked me why I was going to be out. I think she was hoping that I didn't know my rights and would just tell her, but I refused. Needless to say she was pissed !! I do find it wierd that they would need to know any details of why you will be under dr. care. Good luck April. I hope it all works out well for you keep us posted
on 8/6/04 3:22 am - W. Bridgewater, MA
She is NOT required to tell them anything. Except that she is going to be out sick. But that is our union rules. I don't tell them nothin. But I really believe that she doesn't have to tell anyone why she's going to be out. Good for you. I would have loved to have seen the H/R reps face when you refused....LOL. Erin
Camilla E.
on 8/6/04 3:46 am - Montrose, CO
It amazes me that HR folks are not up on the laws. Excellent information, Larry! It is ILLEGAL for them to ask why you need time off. If you have signed something indicating you will provide documentation of medical necessity, I'm sure the doctor can provide that. But that's all they're entitled to, if that. Good luck April!!! Cami (one of your Sept 7 sisters)
April L.
on 8/8/04 1:31 am - Minot, ND
Well, here's the kicker guys, I work for a Legal Services. I haven't questioned them on the legality of there request but I would hope they'd know. I have made it known that I didn't approve of any personal information being put in the letter. We are a small organization so I don't think FMLA will work for my argument But it was a good call Larry! I will remember that should any of our clients be in a similar situation. I ended up requesting the doctor simply state it is a medically necessary procedure and that's it. I want him to forward a copy to me before my Director sees it. My coworkers all have a bias against this surgery. They act like I'm taking an "easy" way out. That just reaffirms to me that they don't know much about this procedure. Thanks for all the posts guys, it's nice to have a group for all us "Septembers".
Kelly G.
on 8/9/04 8:25 am - Saline, MI
I know that I work for a hospital and I have to have a form saying that it is medically necessary for the time off - In order to qualify for FMLA. We also have short term disability insurance and I am required to have the doctor fill out a form for them, also (For the STD insurance, I have to give authorization for the insurance (UNUM) to contact my doctor). Also, before I can return to work, I have to be "cleared" by Employee Health Services (EHS). When the doctor fills out my paperwork, it will go directly to the EHS and they keep their own files - they are even seperate from the HR department. Just wanted to put in my two cents since I am going through the same issue right now! I am required to have my paperwork in 30 days in advance of an "elective" surgery... My supervisor already knows that I am have a surgery but nothing about it. My 30 days is fast approaching... Trying to get everything in order. Kelly Lap RNY 9/16/04 Dr. Kevin, Krause
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