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Marsha411JD, Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 19688
Experience:  Licensed Attorney with 29 yrs. exp in Employment Law
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Can an employer ask for the medical records of the employee

Customer Question

Can an employer ask for the medical records of the employee that had the incident that happened at the place of employment, but while the employee was not working?
Submitted: 5 years ago.
Category: Employment Law
Expert:  Marsha411JD replied 5 years ago.

Can you tell me why the employer wants to see them? Did the employee file a workers compensation claim or take time off from work because of the accident? What kind of work does this employee do and what are the injuries?
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
This the incident. She works for FYE as a retail clerk. She was off of work, but in the store to see a band that was playing. She went into the store restroom and passed out from perscription medication. The boss found her and called the paramedics. They found a syringe next to her. She went to ER and was treated and then left same night. Now they wont let her back to work, but says the HR dept has all says in this matter. They may have asked to see the medical records.
Expert:  Marsha411JD replied 5 years ago.
Hello again,

Thank you for the additional information. The employer has a legal interest in her medical records for a few reasons. One is that they may have to have the information to know whether or not she should be covered under workers compensation or some other liability policy, since she was off work. The bigger issue though is that they are apparently trying to decide whether or not to retain her as an employee. If she is not interested in remaining an employee, then she can refuse and she likely will be terminated. On the other hand, if she wants to retain her position and believes that the medical records will support her contention that she wasn't doing anything unlawful, then she will want to provide those to them. Also, if she provides them the medical records and the records show that she has an illness that qualifies as a disability, then they would not be able to terminate her merely because she has a disability. To do so would violate the discrimination law under the ADA. So, if she did nothing wrong, she will want to cooperate and get all the protections under the law she can get. On the other hand, if she did or doesn't want her job back, then she has the right to refuse her records at this point. If she later tries to file a claim for her medical bills or injuries, she will have to release the records at that time.
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