Q & A Session – Sick Leave Privacy Rights


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 work for the federal government and have been placed on sick leave restriction at my job. I am required to submit a doctor’s note each time when I return to work. My employer has requested that I provide them with information as to why I was seen on each note. However, every doctor I have been to refuses to put any more than “out due to illness or injury” for that day. Is my employer entitled to more detailed information? 


Your employer is entitled to the information, especially if you are on a leave restriction. Tell your doctor you are waiving your privacy rights and you should be provided with sufficient information to satisfy your employer. 

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.

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