Most employers will not ask you for a note from your doctor justifying a one or two day absent because of illness unless they think you are faking it. While they may have every right to ask for the note, whether or not they have the right to terminate you if you don’t provide it is quite a different matter.
If you are an employer who has had an employee off work as a result of illness for an extended period of time, let’s say a couple of years, you should think very carefully before sending them a letter saying the employment relationship is over.
Family doctors beware. Although your propensity to empathize with your patients’ plight and advocate on their behalf when writing notes for their employer or disability insurer is admirable, it is dangerous and almost always does more harm than good.
How long do you think an employer should have to hold a job open and continue paying for benefits for a disabled employee? One year? Two? Five?
The Ontario Human Rights Code prohibits discrimination in employment based on an employee’s disability. Not discriminating includes accommodating a return to work.
Employee absences due to illness inevitably affect productivity and the health of any business. Of course, some absences are inevitable but sometimes employers start to suspect that the system is being abused. Admittedly, the tools available to employers to deal with an employee who is absent unnecessarily due to a claimed illness are limited. Given how limited they are, employers should at least be familiar with the basics:
Sometimes employees are terminated as a result of a “frustration of contract”. It is like a no fault termination. It usually happens when employees become ill and are off work for a very long period of time. It is not their fault that they are ill and neither is it the employer’s fault.
Every family doctor knows that they inevitably have a role to play in their patients’ relationship with their employer. Absences from work of 3 days or more usually result in the employer demanding a “note from the doctor” as a matter of rote.