Good Faith Obligations in the Second and Third Opinion Process
By Gail I. Cohen, JD
Director, Employment Law & Compliance
Matrix Absence Management
When employers use second and third opinions to curb Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) abuse, employees are obligated to cooperate in good faith, or face consequences for failing to do so.
Employee Obligation to Release Medical Information
If a provider designated to conduct the second opinion on your employee needs more information to better understand the serious health condition in the employee’s FMLA leave request, the provider can ask the employee to sign an authorization allowing release of relevant medical records regarding that condition. If the employee fails or refuses to sign the release, one of two possible consequences can occur:
- If the second opinion provider cannot render a complete and sufficient opinion without the needed records, the employer can deny the employee’s request for FMLA leave for that condition; or
- More often, the second-opinion provider completes the FMLA certification, but the employee contests the results because the opinion is based on the brief office visit to complete that certification.
Full content is available to DMEC members only. to view the complete resource.
If you are not a DMEC member, we encourage you to join. DMEC members have access to white papers, case studies, @Work magazine articles, free webinars, legislative updates, and much more. These resources will assist you in building an effective and compliant integrated absence management program, saving you time, resources, and money. Learn more.
If you are being asked to log in more than once, please refresh your browser.