Life happens. Suddenly, one day you wake up with cold chills, fever, and intense pain. Your best friend arrives at your apartment and you head to the nearest doctor’s office. The nurse goes through the standard questions asked upon arrival such as, “when did you begin showing symptoms, what is your medical history, and do you have any allergies.” Finally, you see the doctor and he told you what he has discovered. Panic sets in as you realize this prognosis means you will have to miss work again.
After informing your company about your sickness, the organization requests a doctor’s note. As you ponder on this request, you wonder if this whole ordeal is legal since you are allotted ‘personal’ days off from work in addition to sick leave. There are a number of factors to consider when establishing the legality of requesting a doctor’s note and furthermore if your employer can call your doctor to verify the facts of your visit and the reason for your absence to ensure there isn’t deceit involved. Even with a doctor’s note, employers can choose to believe otherwise regarding your sickness especially since your sustained injury occurred outside of the workplace.
As an employee, it is important to know your legal rights regarding work absence due to sickness and how this can potentially affect your employment. There are certain privacy laws in place that can protect your medical data when it comes to employers verifying your injury with your doctor. Continue reading for counsel concerning privacy and the laws that govern your rights as a United States (U.S.) worker. For one-on-one guidance regarding what you are entitled to as an employee, contact our law office today for your free case evaluation.
When an employee has to take leave due to poor health, they may have to provide their company with a doctor’s note. The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) is a federal law that contains national standards to protect sensitive health information for patients. This statute prevents data from being disclosed without the patient’s consent or knowledge. You may have noticed that after a visit with a physician you are asked to verify a phone number, email address, a person of contacts such as the immediate family that you are comfortable sharing your results with, or some other form of communication in order to receive your diagnosis once testing and/or any blood work returns. This action is in fact due to HIPAA.
The US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) issued the HIPAA Privacy Rule to implement the requirements of HIPAA and to uphold the rights of patients. The HIPAA Security Rule protects a subset of information covered by the Privacy Rule. Privacy Rule addresses the use of individuals’ health details and it embodies the accepted norm for individuals to perceive and control how their health information is utilized. The main objective of this legislation is to ensure that a person’s health data is protected while simultaneously promoting an open channel that allows the health information to flow freely. This action promotes high-quality healthcare provisions that protect public well-being and patient privacy. However, keep in mind that stipulations apply where an entity ( e.g. medical care providers, insurers, and others who possess confidential medical records) may be allowed to share your medical data. When it comes to workers compensation, sharing your health information may be warranted.
If you have discovered that your employer has requested medical data from your doctor without your consent, you may be protected under this law. Feel free to contact our employment attorneys at (888) 244-0706.
When it comes to personal injury, it can happen at any place at any time. Injury can take many forms such as car accidents, slip and falls, sickness, and more; all of which can cause you to miss work for a certain period of time. Many cases of poor health and illness can occur abruptly without a previous onset of symptoms. Because of the circumstances, employers can request a doctor’s note from you if they choose to. However, your company should not contact your physician directly unless it is a situation pertaining to workers’ compensation.
The fact of the matter is your medical records are private and evidence of your injury outlined by a doctor’s note should suffice employers. Companies can however give your medical provider a call without your authorization. The great news is that your health information is protected by law and medical officials should not provide any details regarding your medical condition unless you have consented.
Whether you’ve been fired from your job, harassed at work, or suffering through any other employment dispute, our attorneys will guide you every step of the way to maximize your recovery and bring you the justice you deserve.