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Ask the HR Expert — December 5, 2017

Jill Schaefer /
  • Categories: HR
Medical Leave Rules

Q: We have an employee who is going out on leave because of a cyst on her hand. However, she is asking for an unusual amount of time off and it falls over the holidays. We had previously advised her that this was not an ideal time to be out.

Can we make an employee change her surgery date?

A: Generally, speaking you can ask employees to reschedule medical procedures if your business’s operational demands dictate it. An exception is when something is medically necessary for employees and delaying their surgical procedure or another prescribed treatment would cause further complications for the employees.

If that’s the case, employers must proceed with a disability analysis and identify if they can reasonably accommodate the employee’s medical needs.  In other words, the employer and employee would need to engage in an interactive process to determine what if any reasonable accommodations are available.

Bottom Line: You can ask your employee to reschedule her surgery. However, if doing so would worsen her medical condition, she needs to be allowed to go out on her leave.

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