My legal rights using sick/FMLA time

I have been using sick time and FMLA from a large corporation for treatment of severe depression and anxiety for the last 2 months. My doctor has filled out ample forms requested and recently was asked to provide confidential session notes, which he did. Now, my employer said I have to prove my illness or return to work the next day or all my benefits and pay will cease the next day.
1. Can confidential notes legally be obtained by an employer?
2. If a doctor saying I am seriously ill doesn�t prove an illness, what else does?
3. Do I need a release/consent by my doctor to return to work?
4. Can my employer remove by benefits immediately?

1 answer  |  asked Jul 19, 2007 10:33 AM [EST]  |  applies to Ohio

Answers (1)

Neil Klingshirn
You should contact a lawyer immediately

If you are covered by the FMLA (worked for one year and 1,250 hours during that year), then it your employer appears to be violating your FMLA rights and will do so further if it terminates your pay and benefits.

To answer your questions, you do not have to provide confidential treatment notes to qualify for FMLA leave. Your doctor's certification that you have a serious health condition is generally sufficient. Further, obtaining your treatment notes without your consent may be a violation of your right to privacy.

You may need a release from your doctor to return to work if the company requires it of everyone returning from leave and says so in its written FMLA policy. That release is sufficient if signed by your doctor.

Your employer can terminate your pay and benefits, but doing so may give you the right to file suit. Ideally, you or an attorney acting on your behalf should explain to the company that it is violating your rights and stop it before it terminates your pay and benefits.

You wrote a very organized question, by the way.

I practice in the Columbus area and can help you in this matter. If you would like to schedule a consultation, please call Jenny at 330.665.5445, ext. 0. If this matter is urgent, let Jenny know that and she will schedule the consultation as quickly as possible. If you need to do the consultation by telephone, let Jenny know that as well.



posted by Neil Klingshirn  |  Jul 19, 2007 11:17 AM [EST]

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