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Allen M., Esq.
Allen M., Esq., Employment Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 18846
Experience:  Employment/Labor Law Litigation
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I am a school district employee (teacher) and had to take 4

Customer Question

Hi, I am a school district employee (teacher) and had to take 4 days off in October to fly down to Texas to be with my husband's dying aunt. She was the one who raised him after his mom passed when he was 12. My district's HR said that since she is an "aunt" it didn't fall under MN Stat(###) ###-####sick leave benefits. She passed in early November. We flew down again for the funeral and I took 1 day off as emergency time off, because they said it didn't qualify as bereavement since she was an aunt. I became ill on the way back and had to take the following 3 days off as personal sick leave. The district asked for a doctor's sick note about a week after. I have not been able to get one, since I am no longer ill. HR and my principal have set up a meeting to meet with me this Thursday. Are they in the right here? Do I have any protection in this matter? They have been known to let people go for taking too much sick leave. Any help/support/recommendations in this matter are greatly appreciate
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Employment Law
Expert:  Allen M., Esq. replied 1 year ago.

They are correct in setting up a meeting to discuss the matter with you. There isn't any law against that. In fact, your union rules probably require it prior to employment decisions.

They can legally request a doctor's note because you took time off that was medically related. They are more in the right to ask for this, given that you took the sick leave immediately following a different form of leave.

Your protection here comes solely from your collective bargaining agreement and union grievance process. You don't have any sort of protections based on the bereavement or sick leave, because neither federal or state law required the employer to grant either in this instance.

If your collective bargaining agreement doesn't allow the employer to ask for doctor's notes then that certainly can be a defense here, but that's what you're going to have to look to...the CBA and union help, because nothing in your facts indicate any illegal action by the employer to this point.