ADA Law and Employee health records: What you need to know

by on January 7, 2009 · 0 Comment POSTED IN: HR Info Center

ADA Lawsuit provides some guidance in thorny privacy rights area

Concerned about ADA law regarding an employee’s request for medical leave and want to see their medical test results? You may – if the request gives you reason to believe the employee can no longer perform the job.

Is intermittent leave for life an ADA Requirement
When an employee requested medical leave, he noted his disability prevented him from performing his job and stated he would require “intermittent leave at undetermined times for lifetime ” under ADA guidelines.

Alarmed, the employer requested the results of the worker’s recent laboratory tests, and the worker refused to turn them over.

The leave was denied. The employee filed an ADA lawsuit claiming the requirement to produce his medical records violated his rights under the Americans with Disabilities Act.

But a court found in favor of the employer, saying its insistence on seeing the employee’s medical data was reasonable under ADA guidelines. The ADA says employers may not make inquiries or require medical exams to determine whether workers are disabled, unless the inquiry or exam is “job related and consistent with business necessity.”

In this case, the severity of the employee’s condition coupled with the need for lifetime medical attention gave the employer what the court called “legitimate, nondiscriminatory reasons to doubt the employee’s capacity to perform his duties.”

Cite: Gajda v. Manhattan and Bronx Surface Transit Operating Authority, U.S. Court of Appeals, 2nd Circuit, No. 04-0608, 1/21/05.

HR 3.15

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