EEOC Sues and Wins Over Company Policy Requiring Doctor’s Note for Absences

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has prevailed in a lawsuit over a company and its policy that required employees returning from absences to supply a doctor's note verifying the health-related reason. The EEOC argued–and the U.S. District Court for Southern California concurred–that seeking such intimate health information could be a violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

Judge Irma E. Gonzalez wrote that "Dillard's [the department store being sued] policy requiring Ms. Moreno and Ms. Mazon to disclose the condition for which they were being treated was an inquiry tending to disclose a disability and thus prohibited…."

Though the case was decided in California and wouldn't necessarily have any holding elsewhere, it shows that the EEOC would most likely take the same approach to employees involved in similar situations in other parts of the country. In Dillard's case, the two employees were terminated for excessive absenteeism after refusing to reveal their health conditions, though they did furnish physicians' notes simply stating that they were unable to work.

Employers, with the passage of the Americans with Disabilities Amendments Act (ADAAA), the ADA now has more teeth and employees more protection. Keep up to date and in compliance with Personnel Concepts' ADA Amendments Act Compliance Kit.

NOTE: The details in this blog are provided for informational purposes only. All answers are general in nature and do not constitute legal advice. If legal advice or other expert assistance is required, the services of a competent professional should be sought. The author specifically disclaims any and all liability arising directly or indirectly from the reliance on or use of this blog.
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