in the near future I am going to have a series of doctor's appointments, probably a maximum of 3 per month during working hours. I wonder if I should notify my boss that this is going to be the case. (I am worried she is going to ask what is going on with me and I don't want to disclose that) Or would you notify ahead of each doctor's visit? Thanks for your response.

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    I don't believe it would be legal for your boss to ask why you are going to the doctor. – kylie.a Feb 3 '14 at 21:09
  • It's likely this very much depends on local laws and regulations, maybe also on what's stated in your contract. – CMW Feb 3 '14 at 21:24
  • @IanAuld - Actually your boss can ask you anything he/she wants, they may not be able to force you to answer though. But if you have a position the requires peak or even just a minimum physical condition then it is absolutely reasonable for your boss to ask whats going on. – IDrinkandIKnowThings Feb 3 '14 at 22:02
  • "I am worried she is going to ask what is going on with me and I don't want to disclose that" is irrelevant to your question. Whether you tell up front or before each visit is not going to avoid those questions (assuming she's going to ask at all). – user8036 Feb 4 '14 at 12:18

As a manager, I would appreciate knowing up front that you expect to be out several times per month for medical reasons for x months. This would allow me to adjust workloads and deadlines on an ongoing basis instead of doing it piecemeal.

Also, for what it's worth, I would never ask an employee about specific details of a medical issue unless he/she volunteered, and even then I would try to keep the conversation at a very low level of detail. If you have concerns about what information you have to disclose, I would suggest asking your HR representative for guidance before discussing the absences with your manager.

  • Agreed, if you work for a company large enough to have an HR person/department, they should be the first person you talk to if you're uncomfortable or unsure of how to handle an issue like this. – Carson63000 Feb 3 '14 at 23:05

I'd probably notify the boss that there will be some appointments and find out what kind of arrangement could be made in terms of keeping track of hours worked. Will you make up the time on other days, take paid time off, take unpaid time off, or something else? Getting this arrangement would be the focus I'd have in discussing this with my boss as the more likely side of this is knowing when are you available and if any deadlines you have may have to be moved as a result of these appointments.

If the boss asks for more detail, you could say these are medical appointments though I'm not sure you'd have to go into much more detail than that. The key here is to look at this from the company perspective so that there aren't loose ends in terms of you being absent and not knowing how this is being handled.


Tell her.

I have employed people in the past and hate getting a message the day before and having to find cover etc. I would advise being upfront, if you have to go a few times you have to go a few times, its something that cannot be helped.

Also your employer does not have to know. If you do not want to disclose whats wrong, then they do not have to know.

Best bet, be upfront say you don't want to say why but you need to visit the Drs, reinforce it with a Drs note. Hopefully they will come to an agreement with you. My currently employer just lets me move my lunch to cover it.


I realize that you don't want to disclose your persnal medical issues, but if you are going to be gone rather frequently, it will affect the workload. It is also possible that, depending on the severity of the issue, you might not be as productive during the hours you are working. Your boss needs to know this and can adjust workload appropriately.

There are times in most people's lives when they are not at their best and some allowance needs to be made for that. It is easier to make this allowance if the manager knows there is an issue. These can be medical issues, grief, parental care issues or sick children or even divorce. When people choose not to disclose, the only information the boss has is that performance has suffered. This tends to lead to a worse problem for the employee than if they had disclosed (at a general level not the gory details) what the problem is and how long it may be affecting you.

Now all this assumes a reasonable boss and an employee who was performing acceptably before the issue came up. I personally have never worked for anyone who I could not go to when there was a life issue (even bosses I didn't particularly like otherwise) and in general I would not stay working for someone who couldn't understand things like medical problems affecting work.

If however you have a bad boss who would not understand, it is entirely possible it is a bettter choice to only tell about the appointments one at a time. And remember if you don't tell him what the appointment is for, it is likely this kind of boss might turn down your request. The person will eventually notice, but it could keep you employed longer.

In any event, I would suggest that you talk to your boss about how you can make up the hours if you feel that will be possible. It is easier to grant the time when you know it will be made up for later. If the impact will be large and others will need to work more to cover for you, it will be better received by your co-workers as well if they know it is for medical reasons. You don't need to disclose what the medical situtation is, but it is best to let your boss know it is a medical problem. Personally I prefer to tell the boss exactly what the problem is if it is serious and ask him or her to keep that information confidential. So the co-workers are only told that you are having a medical problem but the boss has a way of estmating the potential seriousness (cancer would be more likley to affect work beyond the actual appointments than medical treatments for allergies for instance).

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