Employment Law

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Can an employer ask the employee to sign a HIPPA release so…

Customer Question
Can an employer ask...

Can an employer ask the employee to sign a HIPPA release so that HR or the employee manager can discuss the employee medical condition with the doctor in order to determine work schedule or why the doctor is recommending working from home instead of coming into the office

Lawyer's Assistant: Because employment law varies from place to place, can you tell me what state this is in?

Virginia

Lawyer's Assistant: Is the employment agreement "at will," union, full time or part time?

At will and full time

Submitted: 4 months ago.Category: Employment Law
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Answered in 5 minutes by:
11/27/2017
Employment Lawyer: ScottyMacEsq, Lawyer replied 4 months ago
ScottyMacEsq
ScottyMacEsq, Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 18,004
Experience: Licensed Texas General Practice Attorney
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Thank you for using JustAnswer.

Yes. The first thing that you need to know is that Virginia is an "at will" employment state. At-will employment means that without a contract, you have no contractual or other right to employment with the company. The company is entitled to fire you for any reason: a good reason, a poor reason, or no reason at all--as long as the company does not fire you for an illegal reason (race, gender, age, religion, etc...). But it extends beyond firing, to hiring, promotions, demotions, wage cuts and raises, disciplinary actions, and even scheduling. Unless you can show that this was done in violation of a contract, union agreement, or a clear violation of an unambiguous and binding clause against the employer, or that it was done because of some minority status (age, race, gender, religion, disability) that you have, then they do have this discretion.

The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) applies to doctors and providers of medical care, not employers. So there's nothing that says it's illegal to try to get a waiver of HIPAA. The only limitation is if this is a disability covered by the ADA, but even then the employer is allowed to request documentation to verify the existence of the disability and the need for reasonable accommodations. If it's not covered by ADA, then it's entirely up to the employer.

IF it's covered by the ADA, an employer may require an employee to provide documentation that is sufficient to substantiate that s/he has an ADA disability and needs the reasonable accommodation requested, but cannot ask for unrelated documentation. This means that, in most circumstances, an employer cannot ask for an employee's complete medical records because they are likely to contain information unrelated to the disability at issue and the need for accommodation.

Documentation is sufficient if it: (1) describes the nature, severity, and duration of the employee's impairment, the activity or activities that the impairment limits, and the extent to which the impairment limits the employee's ability to perform the activity or activities; and, (2) substantiates why the requested reasonable accommodation is needed. The employer can ask the employee to send in documentation from his treating physician that substantiates that the employee has a disability, confirms that his hospitalization is related to his disability, and provides information on how long he may be absent from work.

Again, if it's not an ADA matter, then the employer can require that the employee allow this.

Hope that clears things up a bit. If you have any other questions, please let me know. If not, and you have not yet, please rate my answer AND press the "submit" button, if applicable.

Please note that I don't get any credit for the time and effort that I spent on this answer unless and until you rate it positively (3 or more stars). Look for the stars on your screen (★★★★★). You may need to scroll left/right/up/down to see these stars, but note that the rating is what closes out this question, so it is necessary that you do so.

Thank you, ***** ***** luck to you!

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Employment Lawyer: ScottyMacEsq, Lawyer replied 4 months ago

Did you have any other questions before you rate this answer?

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Employment Lawyer: ScottyMacEsq, Lawyer replied 4 months ago

Are you there? Please note that I am still here, awaiting your response or rating... (please note that rating closes this question out, so if there's nothing else, please rate it so that I can assist other customers that are waiting for answers to their questions).

If you can't see the stars, you may need to scroll up / down / left / or right to see them. This is where you rate so that the question will close out.

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Employment Lawyer: ScottyMacEsq, Lawyer replied 4 months ago

My apologies, but I must assist the other customers that are waiting. If you have any other questions, please let me know. If not, and you have not yet, please rate my answer AND press the "submit" button, if applicable.

Please note that I don't get any credit for the time and effort that I spent on this answer unless and until you rate it positively (3 or more stars). Look for the stars on your screen (★★★★★). You may need to scroll left/right/up/down to see these stars, but note that the rating is what closes out this question, so it is necessary that you do so.

If you feel that I have gone above and beyond in this answer (my average answer is about 10 minutes) bonuses are greatly appreciated. Thank you, ***** ***** luck to you!

▼ RATING REQUIRED! ▼ Please don't forget to Rate my service positively. It's only after you rate that I am credited.

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Employment Lawyer: ScottyMacEsq, Lawyer replied 4 months ago

I see that you have not responded in some time. Please note that this question is still open until you rate it. I believe that I have answered your question, but if you have any other questions, please let me know. If not, and you have not yet, please rate my answer AND press the "submit" button, if applicable.

Please note that I don't get any credit for the time and effort that I spent on this answer unless and until you rate it positively (3 or more stars). Look for the stars on your screen (★★★★★). You may need to scroll left/right/up/down to see these stars, but note that the rating is what closes out this question, so it is necessary that you do so.

If you feel that I have gone above and beyond in this answer (my average answer is about 10 minutes) bonuses are greatly appreciated. Thank you, ***** ***** luck to you!

▼ RATING REQUIRED! ▼ Please don't forget to Rate my service positively. It's only after you rate that I am credited.

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