Q. We don't usually require employees to provide documentation when they take time off for doctors' appointments, but one worker has a pattern of scheduling these “appointments” on the Friday before holiday weekends. Can we request verification from the doctor's office on a case-by-case basis? —J.B., Washington
A. Requesting medical verification on a case-by-case basis is usually a bad idea. An employee targeted by an ad hoc request may later allege discrimination on the basis of disability, as well as race, religion, age and other protected classes.
Instead, we suggest you implement a policy that directs employees to attempt to schedule such appointments during nonwork hours. Moreover, to address your specific problem, the policy may state that when an appointment is during work hours, the employee must provide documentation to justify the scheduling.