Employment Law Questions? Ask an Employment Lawyer.
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It is very rare that employers actually have access to employee's medical records. For most instances where FMLA or Disability Reasonable Accommodation or any other type of medical question is being raised, the employer will provide the employee with a form specific to that issue to be completed by the employee's healthcare provider. This document then becomes part of the employee's employment file and not their medical record.
There may be times when the employer is in fact given access to the employee's medical record, but only with prior authorization from the employee - either through consent or through subpoena (in a litigated proceeding in court).
The Doctor's Letter is not a part of your medical record (HIPPA rules do not apply). Once you take that letter and provide it to your employer it becomes part of your employment file.
How your employer chooses to manage the employee files is something that is subject to its own internal policies and procedures.
Having employee files available to management at a local level is not uncommon.
I didn't say anything about telling people (behind your back or otherwise), all that I said was that the information is part of your employment file and that this can be kept in your employee file.
Disclosing information in your employee file unnecessarily is another issue: http://www.gfrlaw.com/pubs/GordonPubDetail.aspx?xpST=PubDetail&pub=478
I would recommend consulting with a local employment law attorney prior to filing suit as there is often more to discuss than simply whether or not you provided something greater than what is required by statute. Most employment law attorneys provide a free consultation to discuss the merits of a potential claim and go over the details of your case.
But if your employer is requiring this information as opposed to your physician disclosing this independently, that may create a cause of action.
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