Who can see an employee’s FMLA paperwork?

When a doctor gives employee a return to work with restrictions, who is allowed to see the actual form? In other words, is only the designated FMLA coordinator or can the supervisor see it also?

Posted  08-19-2015

Ann Kiernan replies:

The FMLA regulations, 29 C.F.R. §825.500(g), say that:

Records and documents relating to certifications, recertifications or medical histories of employees or employees’ family members, created for purposes of FMLA, shall be maintained as confidential medical records in separate files/records from the usual personnel files… except that:

(1) Supervisors and managers may be informed regarding necessary restrictions on the work or duties of an employee and necessary accommodations


So, supervisors have a right to know if a returning worker has medical restrictions or needs reasonable accommodations for a disability, but not to see the underlying medical records.

Information here is correct at the time it is posted. Case decisions cited here may be reversed. Please do not rely on this information without consulting an attorney first.


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About the Author:

Ann Kiernan has litigated claims of wrongful discharge and discrimination before state and federal courts and administrative matters before the New Jersey Division on Civil Rights, the National Labor Relations Board and the Equal Opportunity Employment Commission, representing both employers and employees. Ms. Kiernan co-hosted The Employee Rights Forum, a weekly radio call-in show reaching up to a half-million listeners in the New York metropolitan area, and her articles on employment law have been published in many books and magazines. Both as a firm partner and as a director, Ms. Kiernan gained solid experience in management and human resources compliance. She has worked with Fair Measures since 1997.