From the Hotline: Employee Discipline for Absences with Doctor's Notes
Question: Can we discipline an employee who has missed a few days of work over the last few weeks due to an illness and has doctor’s notes for each absence?
Answer: Before disciplining an employee for legitimate absences, you need to carefully examine your existing policy and practices. If performance is being affected by the absence or the employee is not following the proper call in procedures, then address those specific issues and not the absence itself.
If there are legitimate health issues, likely this employee and the associated absences may qualify him/her for Family & Medical Leave Act (FMLA) protections as well as the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
We suggest first talking with the employee about the attendance concerns and how it impacts the work—depending on the response; you may have an obligation to allow the time off without penalizing the employee for taking that time.