A recent court case tackles a question many employers face when workers come back from intermittent leave:
Is it against the law to ask those employees to turn in a fitness for duty medical certification?
In this case, an employee took intermittent leave, though his last absence was six weeks long. When he came back, the company asked him to have a doctor certify that he was able to return to work.
When he didn’t turn in a certification, he was fired. The employee sued.
Department of Labor regulations state that companies can require fitness for duty certifications — except when employees are returning from intermittent leave.
But the company argued it had a right to know if the employee was able to work after he was absent for six straight weeks.
The court agreed, ruling that the DOL rule was unreasonable in this case. It conflicted with another reg which states that employees don’t need to get their jobs back if they can’t perform the essential functions of the position — and often, the only way to know that is to get the word from a doctor.
The employee’s case was thrown out.
Cite: Phipps v. County of McLean