QUESTION

The employee didn’t explain specifically why he needs leave other than “mental health.” Should we respect his privacy, or can we find out what is going on?

SHORT ANSWER
Employers are entitled to have policies that require all employees to provide a doctor’s note or other documentation to support the need for leave.
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Employers are entitled to have policies that require all employees to provide a doctor’s note or other documentation to support the need for leave. Employers can also require that employees returning to work from leave provide medical documentation that they are in fact fit for work.  While requiring documentation about depression and other mental health conditions can feel invasive, it’s a necessary step in maintaining a consistent and fair FMLA policy, and also insuring that the employee is in fact safe to return to work when the leave is complete.