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Patrick, Esq.
Patrick, Esq., Lawyer
Category: California Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 12472
Experience:  Significant experience in all areas of employment law.
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Do you have a form Leave Request? One of our top employees

Customer Question

Do you have a form for Medical Leave Request? One of our top employees requested to take medical leave a couple weeks ago and now she says she doesn't know when she will be back, she has a few more appointments but she is very vague on what is wrong with
her. She may come back next week, but maybe not..She left suddenly and was in the middle of quite a few projects, we didn't understand why she couldn't even work part-time. We think it is an issue with her thyroid and not something that leaves her totally
disables but she hasn't said. What kind of information can we request from her? We think she just doesn't want to drive into work and that she may be trying to get disability? We aren't sure. I just want documentation of when she requested off and for what
what reason. We are considering letting her go, so I want to make sure we have everything up to date in our files. We are a smaller company (5 million revenue and 8 employees) so we do not have to comply with the Family Medical Leave Act but I'm not sure what
right our employee has. Any help is appreciated! Thank you!
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: California Employment Law
Expert:  Patrick, Esq. replied 1 year ago.

Hello and thank you for entrusting me to assist you. My name is ***** ***** I will do everything I can to answer your question.

With just 8 employees, the only law that applies it the Fair Employment & Housing Act. FEHA requires employers to engage in a good faith interactive process with disabled employees to determine what, if any, "reasonable accommodations" they can offer that will allow the employee to keep their job. Allowing an employee to take time off can be a form of accommodation, but again, that accomodation must be "reasonable" meaning it does not impose undue hardship on the company. So, if you can prove that an extended leave of absence would impose undue hardship that you are not required to keep the employee employed. Generally, when a leave request is simply "open ended" and the employer is not given any idea when the employee will return it would not be reasonable to keep them employed during that time. but remember, you have to engage in a good faith interactive process with them to determine if that is the case. All of that should be carefully documented.

Another thing you can do is request medical verification of the employee's need to miss work. You cannot ask about the underlying medical CONDITION, but you can ask if the employee is disabled, and if so disabled from performing what tasks specifically. If the employee cannot supply proof that she is actually disabled, you are under no obligation to hold their position under FEHA simply because they themselves have reached that conclusion.

I hope that you find this information helpful. Please do not hesitate to let me know if you have any questions or concerns regarding the above and I will be more than happy to assist you further.

If you do not require any further assistance, please be so kind as to provide a positive rating of my service so that I may receive credit for assisting you. Very best wishes moving forward.