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?
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.