Employment Law Questions? Ask an Employment Lawyer.
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An employer has no legal right to request an employee's medical records, which is of course what a HIPAA release would be for. All an employer is entitled to is a doctor's note certifying that an employee is unable to work or what accommodations they require to do their job. Inquiries into an employee's underlying medical condition are prohibited, and if an employer retaliates against an employee for refusing to divulge such information, that employee would have a claim for damages. Therefore, the best course of action in these circumstances is typically to inform the employer in writing that you will not be providing a HIPAA release or responding to questions about your underlying medical condition because the Americans With Disabilities Act prohibits such inquiries. If retaliate occurs, you have created a papertrail which will now make it easier to prove.
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