Q & A Session – Sick Leave


Ask the Lawyer received the following question (paraphrased for easier reading and clarity) from a reader on a legal matter that might be of interest to the entire audience.


I’m currently on a letter of requirement. I’ve been bringing my doctor notes to my boss and he has been accepting them. Now he wants me to start having the doctor state my illness or diagnosis for me or my family whenever I call out sick. Can he do this and not be in violation of my rights?


Your supervisor may require that you provide sufficient medical information from your doctor to show that you are medically incapacitated from work.

Bill Bransford is managing partner of Shaw Bransford & Roth PC.

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About Author

Debra Roth

Debra L. Roth is a partner at the law firm Shaw Bransford & Roth, a federal employment law firm in Washington, D.C. She is general counsel to the Senior Executives Association and the Federal Managers Association, host of the “FEDtalk” program on Federal News Radio, and a regular contributor to Federal News Radio’s “Federal Drive” morning show. Email your legal questions to lawyer@federaltimes.com.


  1. I don’t believe this answer is correct. I know for even the military, the commander (supervisor basically) can’t require or even ask for the particular illness of the individual, only the fact that they are unable to perform their duties and an estimated recovery time. I can’t imagine for the civilian sector/fed gov’t that a supervisor could “require” an employee to have the doctor give the illness/diagnosis. I would be curious what statute this answer was based on.

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