Q. Our policy states employees must provide a doctor’s note if they take sick leave of three or more days. Are we violating any laws by demanding the doctor’s note, which includes a diagnosis?
A. A federal court recently held that requiring a doctor’s note explaining the nature of an employee’s absence was an intrusive and unlawful medical inquiry under the ADA.
Instead of requiring a doctor’s note that includes a diagnosis, it is better to require a doctor’s note that shows when the employee saw the doctor and when he or she can return to work. It should also state that the employee’s absence was medically necessary.
Instruct supervisors and HR to limit their questions to whether the employee can perform the job, rather than asking about the medical condition causing the absence.