Under her employer's sick-leave policy, corrections officer Belinda Fountain had to provide a diagnosis of her medical condition every time she was absent.
This "medical certification" had to be on doctor's letterhead, include a diagnosis of the condition treated, state that the employee was unable to work and offer a prognosis for any absence charged to sick leave or family sick leave, regardless of its duration. If a supervisor rejected the note, the employee could be punished.
Fountain sued, challenging the policy under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) as being too detailed and heavy-handed. A district court agreed.
Reason: The ADA doesn't let an employer conduct medical inquiries or exams that may reveal an employee's disabilities or perceived disabilities, except when the inquiry is "shown to be job-related and consistent with business necessity." To fall under this exception, employers must show they made the inquiries because there was a good reason to suspect the employee "would be unable to perform essential job functions or would pose a danger to the health and safety of the workplace." (Fountain v. New York State Dept. of Correctional Servs., 99-CV-389, N.D.N.Y., 2002)
Advice: You need more reason than just a few days' absence from work to suspect that an employee is unable to perform her job.
Review all your policies that touch on medical exams or inquiries. A problem with this employer's policy was that it requires the worker to provide a "diagnosis," even in general terms. "Received chemotherapy," for example, could divulge a disability or perceived disability.
If you're concerned about a returning employee's ability to do the job or about posing a risk to the workplace, explain and document the basis for your concerns when requesting certification of her readiness to return.
Like what you've read? ...Republish it and share great business tips!
Attention: Readers, Publishers, Editors, Bloggers, Media, Webmasters and more...
" This information is proudly provided by Business Management Daily.com: http://www.businessmanagementdaily.com/727/dont-pry-too-deeply-when-seeking-proof-of-sick-leave "