Worker’s Medical Privacy in the Workplace: How Does It Work?

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When applying for employment in a big or small company, potential employees may have to disclose their medical records, to some certain extent. Of course, this process is quite mandatory as the employers do have the right to know  about the health conditions of the people they are hiring.

For those applicants or even employees whose medical or health records are in the sensitive side or those who are simply uncomfortable of exposing their medical records to employers; you might be wondering how medical privacy functions in your workplaces.

Without further ado, this article will try to shed some light in these concerns. For easier reading, the content will be written in bullet form.

Medical Tests

  • Employers cannot require potential employees to take medical tests before a job offer.
  • When a job offer has been done, employers can ask potential employees to take medical examinations–this is to see if the person passes the health requirement.
  • When one potential employee has been asked to undergo medical tests, all other employees who were offered the job should also undergo medical examinations.
  • When hired, employers cannot request employees to undergo medical tests to determine if they can keep the position–unless they are job-related or necessary for the business’ conduct.
  • Employers cannot reject potential employees for their disabilities if they are able to perform the essential functions required by the job.
  • Results of medical tests must be kept confidential.

healthcare privacy

Medical Records

Medical records are created when you are treated by healthcare professionals; it often includes the following information:

  • Medical history and family’s medical history
  • Lifestyle health risks such as smoking or risky sports)
  • Laboratory test results
  • Medical operations and procedures
  • Medications
  • Applications for health or life-related insurance

Medical records are required to be kept confidential; however, employers can disclose these information to supervisors, managers, safety personnel, investigators of compliance and as part of worker’s compensation claims.

Healthcare Provider and Privacy Rule

Under this law, the employers cannot obtain medical information about employees directly from their healthcare provider; it must first have the authorization or consent of the employee. However, this is only applicable to medical records maintained by health plans, health clearinghouses and healthcare providers and only if the facility transmits and maintains records in electronic form.

The Bottom Line

There are many ways an employer can gain access to their employee’s medical information; it could be through medical notes secured by the employees or directly from the healthcare provider; however, it must always have the authorization of the employee as it is concerned with privacy.

On another note, employers should be on the lookout for fake medical notes that could potentially affect worker efficiency as this has been becoming viral in workplaces.