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Patrick, Esq.
Patrick, Esq., Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 12622
Experience:  Significant experience in all areas of employment law.
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I had a surgery done recently and provided a doctors note

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Hello, I had a surgery done recently and provided a doctors note with the dates of leave and release date. After I submitted this note I was asked to have the doctor fill out two forms which I though was odd. I asked that they fill them out so I could be released to work but to not provide any info other than that I had a Surgery and the dates. My employer called the office and was asking the office lady questions about my medical issue and even stated the forms were vague. They then sent me an email stating that my medical leave was not approved. Keep in mind I was not seeking FMLA I just needed the days off unpaid to recover. They basically found out what facility it was and invaded my privacy.... can you tell me what legalities are involved?
JA: Because employment law varies from place to place, can you tell me what state this is in?
Customer: Arizona
JA: Is the employment agreement "at will," union, full time or part time?
Customer: Ummm full time at will. Right to work state I believe
JA: Anything else you want the lawyer to know before I connect you?
Customer: Just that the office staff lady seemed very desterbed by the questioning and the extra forms outside of the doc note that was provided.

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

Have you been terminated due to this absence? Was the surgery for an elective procedure, or what it something essential to your health? I very much look forward to helping you on this matter.

Customer: replied 3 months ago.
Hello, no I was not terminated but it looks like the absence could go against me as not excused. I doc not was provided and they continued to ask for forms to be filled out stating I can not return to work without them filled out. They then called the office and continued to ask about the nature of the surgery. I can see calling to verify I'm a patient maybe but even that I feel is too much.The surgery was cosmetic and I elected to do it to repair an old injury/scar

Thank you.

So a couple things make this difficult from a legal standpoint. First, unless and until any actual adverse employment action is taken against you--something tangible like a termination or demotion--you do not have any actual damages and thus no basis to sue or take other legal action. Second, elective procedures are generally not protected in any manner under disability laws or under the Family Medical Leave Act. So, since employment in AZ is "at will" absent an agreement to the contrary, you actually could be terminated for missing work for this reason.

As for the calls your employer made to the medical facility, I agree that crossed some boundaries. However, it does not violate any law ans there is nothing illegal about calling a doctor and asking questions. It would be illegal for the doctor's office to reveal information about your condition without your consent under HIPAA, but HIPAA doesn't apply to your employer, it only applies to medical providers.

So from a legal standpoint I don't really see too many options here. I can understand you being upset with the way this was handled, and I would think most employers would be more understanding about allowing time off for a medical procedure even if it was elective. But the law doesn't really come into play here, and so it's best to see what you can to smooth things over with your employer on an personal level.

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.

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