How can employers avoid medical privacy issues in the workplace?
New Jersey employers have many responsibilities when it comes to protecting their workers. From ensuring that safety standards are met to avoiding illegal treatment of workers, it can be a lot to handle. Unfortunately, any slip-up or possible violation of the law could result in an employee or former employee attempting to bring a lawsuit against the employer or company. As a result, it is essential for employers to understand these matters, particularly when it comes to medical privacy for workers.
Medical privacy is crucial in various areas of life, and the workplace is no different. Employers are not allowed to disclose or ask about an employee’s or prospective employee’s personal medical information without proper authority or reason. Additionally, they cannot use that information to discriminate against a worker.
Of course, there are certain instances in which an employer may need to obtain medical information from a worker and has legal authority to request such information, including under the following circumstances:
- When an employee requests accommodation under the Americans with Disabilities Act
- When an employee needs to take extended sick leave or medical or disability leave
- When a company requires medical evaluations for all employees due to the nature of the job or for a legitimate business purpose
- When a worker’s substance abuse problems are affecting the workplace
- When a worker suffers an injury on the job
Still, it is important to remember that, often, specific details regarding a worker’s medical visits, diagnosis or other information that could be considered too probing should not be requested. If New Jersey employers have concerns about maintaining medical privacy in the workplace, discussing the matter with experienced employment law attorneys may be wise. These professionals could assist employers in following the law as well as help handle any legal issues that may arise regarding such privacy.