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Why Were You Absent? Inquiring Minds Want to Know

Lexology (04/19/12) Joseph Wood III

In EEOC v. Dillard’s, a federal district court in California ruled that a policy requiring employees to disclose the reasons for health-related absences violates the Americans With Disabilities Act. The court affirmed the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s determination that such policies lead to intrusive questions that could uncover information about actual or perceived disabilities and ruled that employers need not know about the nature of the medical condition in order to verify legitimate medical absences. Employers should alter such policies so that doctor’s notes only require the dates the employee was absent for health issues, and employers should not question employees about the reason for the absence even when such questions are asked out of care.