California Employment Law
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Hello and thank you for entrusting me to answer your question. Yes, an employer is typically allowed to require employees to obtain a second medical opinion.
Typically, the employer must pay for such a doctor's exam.
While the employer may choose the health care provider for the second opinion, they may not in most cases choose a provider whose services they regularly use.
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Just to be clear, this was not worker's comp. The employer has no written requirement for anything other than a release from the doctor - which was obtained on the employer's form. Does that change anything?
This would not change the above response. If an employer believes that an employee is not able to perform a job successfully or safely because of a medical condition, they may typically request medical verification upon the employee's return from a leave of absence. They would not, however, be able to demand independent medical verification if it was for some sort of improper purpose, such as harassment.