As an employer, can we ask employees the reason for taking PTO?

Ann Kiernan replies:

Not only can the employer ask, sometimes it should. For instance, if an employee calls out three days in a row, the employer could ask if the employee is suffering from a serious health condition that would be covered under the Family and Medical Leave Act and get the FMLA paperwork started, if necessary.

But I do not recommend prying. If the employee wants three days off to attend to a family matter, isn’t that enough? Do you really want to know the sordid details?


Posted 03-15-2017

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.


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.