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Employer wants to look at medical records!

31 REPLIES 31
EdwardHeavy
Member

Re: Employer wants to look at medical records!

Oh, that is so terrible! They are acting against the law

JasmineHart
Member

Re: Employer wants to look at medical records!

Hi everyone, maybe this is an old thread, but I need some advice because I had spinal surgery. I need a body recovery period, but at work, I already start calling me, asking me, and blackmailing me to get fired. To understand that I have been working there for 30 years, half my life, I can say that I gave myself this, and now this is the situation. I found a forum https://www.trinityschoolofmedicine.org/blog/understanding-and-preparing-for-the-mcat where I was advised that if he kicked me out of my job, I could sue them and get hurt, but I don't know. Is this possible, or do I need to consult a lawyer?

JasmineHart
Member

Re: Employer wants to look at medical records!

Hi everyone, maybe this is an old thread, but I need some advice because I had spinal surgery. I need a body recovery period, but at work, I already start calling me, asking me, and blackmailing me to get fired. To understand that I have been working there for 30 years, half my life, I can say that I gave myself this, and now this is the situation. I found a forum  where I was advised that if he kicked me out of my job, I could sue them and get hurt, but I don't know. Is this possible, or do I need to consult a lawyer?

Alibobs
Member

Re: Employer wants to look at medical records!

Just thought I'd update on my situation. I am still off work having now been told see you in a year's time by onco and return to your gp for fit note etc. Had another meeting last week with manager last week but at work this time. They are obviously keen to get me back to work and asked for definitereturn date and reminded me I am on half pay! Told them not up to me or you in listening to my medical advisors!! So now my sick note had again run out off I trot this morning to gp. Only ended up with yet another sick note for 2 month! She said NO you need time to fully recover and 7 months is no enough! Ok I wasn't going to argue. Looking at phased return in August. Manager won't like it at all but hey ho!!!!! Hope you are all well and happy 💖💖💖💖
riversidedawn
Member

Re: Employer wants to look at medical records!

My boss suggested changing my work pattern so I don't work the first week of the month (when I have zometa infusion which knocks me out for a few day) and then work my usual 24 hours Mon, Tues, Thurs, Fri for the remaining weeks.

I currently have 1-2 days paid sick leave so not sure that this works. I had a meeting with occupational healthy this morning so will see what they suggest.
ladybowler
Member

Re: Employer wants to look at medical records!

Alibobs

 

You go girl, if you are entitled it then why should you not have it, after all how exceptional circumstances can you have than bc xxx

Alibobs
Member

Re: Employer wants to look at medical records!

Hi I just had the 2nd home visit from my manager and HR consultant. They had just received the surgeons report this morning and brought a copy with them so I managed to see it! It didn't tell me anything I didn't already know but was s bit perturbed when it said ok for work 4 weeks after end of rads!! Told them that's now and no way am I going back until I have had follow up with radiotherapy oncologist at least. Then I will have to be referred back to surgeon before I can obtain got note from my gp!! So they suggested I take my annual leave to prevent me going down to half pay. But I am already applying for full pay to continue which is something my company allows under certain circumstances. Even if they don't allow me go have full pay I am not wasting valuable annual leave so I will take it after I am fit for work!! They weren't happy but tough!! 18 years at 120 percent they have had from me so I think they owe me this!!
BlueMonday
Member

Re: Employer wants to look at medical records!

Hi alibobs

I didn’t hear any more after I sent the form back, I am not back at work yet but will ask questions when I do go back which will be probably after Easter now, I don’t understand why they went to the trouble of getting me to fill it in and not presuing it. Hope things go well with you .
Alibobs
Member

Re: Employer wants to look at medical records!

Wondering how things have gone for you BlueMonday? I have another visit scheduled at home for next Monday from my manager and she's bringing a HR consultant with her. Did you get anywhere with your medical records and employer?
riversidedawn
Member

Re: Employer wants to look at medical records!

Hi ladies, I would really like to add a different perspective to this conversation as a breast cancer patient with recently diagnosed bone mets who works in HR!

Please don't presume that these requests to see medical records are automatically sinister. Your employer has an obligation to ensure that your workplace is safe for you and that it will not cause you any additional stress or complications. Unless you work in oncology you cannot expect your employer to understand the limitations of your condition so they need to ask for professional advice.

Any employer should be keen to support you and get you back to work when it is appropriate for you. In the meantime they have a business to run and need your work to be done by someone. So they need more info on your condition to decide whether your colleagues can shoulder the burden of extra work or if they need to employ additional temporary cover.

To be honest, if they decide they need temporary cover that indicates the importance of your role and theealidity of your employment. X

I appreciate that there are some unscrupulous employers out there, in which case please involve your union , ACAS or nmjuu

ladybowler
Member

Re: Employer wants to look at medical records!

Seabreeze

 

Wow that is amazing and will be of big help to anyone else who is having problems with their employer xxx

Alibobs
Member

Re: Employer wants to look at medical records!

Just wanted to thank you for taking the time to compose such a comprehensive and sympathetic response to this post seabreeze. I wish every employer could actually read this. They may rethink the way they treat their employees who are going through this difficult process. Thank you again I gave taken it all on board and I will refer to it as and when. Take care xxx
ann-m
Member

Re: Employer wants to look at medical records!

Just to say, thanks for such a fab & informative post, Seabreeze.
ann x
Seabreeze
Member

Re: Employer wants to look at medical records!

Hi Alibobs and BlueMonday,

 

It is way too soon for employers to be putting such additional pressure on you when you haven't yet had all your treatment and have GP fit notes. It not right, unfair and could negatively impact your recovery. 

 

My employer was dreadful when I returned to work on phased return and when I gave them 2 fit notes from 2 different GP's told me it, "caused them a problem," since their occupational heath nurse (who didn't seem to know much at all about breast cancer) thought I should be able to return to full hours much quicker than the 2 different GP's/fit notes. I was crawling home from work and having to go to bed before I had enough energy to cook dinner. It was no joke, and my employer was trying to get me back even quicker than their occupational health nurse. 

 

So, the top tip for how to send a warning flare across your employers bow (excuse any puns - sticking with the Seabreeze theme). Best done now given they are putting pressure on soooo mega soon:

 

I have to give my GP a degree of credit on this.....she was far from impressed by my employer, and said, "Well, if they won't take my word for it, you could always ask your oncologist for a letter. You can't get any higher than that!" It was a very valid point. I spoke to my oncologist (who was appalled) and offered to write a letter (before I asked if that would be possible).

 

So, occupational health (OH) nurse (and possibly an OH doctor above the nurse) versus specialist breast cancer oncologist. Pretty hands down on who is going to win that one on medical knowledge! 

 

I think that would send shudders through any employer behaving badly and putting pressure on a breast cancer patient going through treatment, recovering and/or when returning to work. It did mine, I only wish I had done so sooner since I felt the stress caused by my employer upon my return was worse (because it was unnecessary and I had extreme aneamia during later stages of recovery), than the stress of the diagnosis months earlier. Before the letter from the oncologist I had written a formal letter of complaint about OH setting it in the context of professional OH standards which I felt OH had failed. While I was informed there were insufficent records to address many of my points, I found out later that the OH company lost their consultancy appointment with my employer soon after my complaint. It may just have been a coincidence. 

 

If you don't have an appointment with your onc for a while, you could always call the hospital, track down the oncologists administrative assistant, and leave a brief message explaining that you feel you are being put under pressure by your employer, what the employer is doing, that the employer does not seem to be accepting your GP's advice and ask if, given the circumstances, your onc would be prepared to consider writing a letter since you are worried this could affect your recovery.

 

 Other points

 

1 - Keep a time line of all conversations, requests, meetings etc with your employer and include dates of your treatment, meetings with GP, fit notes, onc, radiologist etc on the same calender. Keep it going all the way through your treatment and return to work. 

 

2 - I think granting your permission for your GP to speak to your employers OH is one thing, and demonstrates you have nothing to hide, however having access to your records sounds too much of a personal intrusion. Macmillan have a special employer issues advice team. When I called them they took a message and I received a call back from the specialist team a few days later.  

 

3 - Are you a member of a union or is there one you could join? If you can take a union rep with you to a meeting it will (from your employers perspective) bolster your seriousness about matters. 

 

I would strongly urge you to speak to your oncologist now, if your employer is being like this at this early stage it doesn't bode well for current or later stages of recovery, let alone phased return.

 

Prepare the rocket launch and send that rocket out!

 

Do let us know how you get on. Happy to provide any other support/comment ideas from my experience.

 

Seabreeze (now nearly 4 years on and wanting to help get fairness through recovery!)   

X

 

  

   

NorthernGal
Member

Re: Employer wants to look at medical records!

Hi all

I'm so sorry that you have to deal with this on top of everything else. As Blue Monday has said, surely the sick note says it all. I've sent my manager regular sick notes and a phone call here and there and he has told me to take as long as I need.  HR have not requested any further information. 

 

Breast Cancer Haven run a free  Employment Law Seminar and one of the areas covered is 'Rights to privacy and confidentially - what should HR, Occupational Health and yr manager be told about your diagnosis'. 

 

Breastcancerhaven.org.uk.

 

Its worth going along if you are close to a Haven centre.

 

Best wishes xxx

Alibobs
Member

Re: Employer wants to look at medical records!

I too am going through this with my employers of 18 years!!! They got my go records with my permission and have now asked for the onco report!! Honestly they have no idea of the stress they are piling on when I'm already going through this traumatic time! They did a home visit less than 4 weeks after my op and now want to do another one with the company's HR consultant!! Oh and have said I must inform them if anyone else will be there. Furious!! Of course my hubby will be here he LIVES here!! Anyway I've told them the visit can wait until I've finished rads. Have enough to worry about! I might add I never take time off sick and i have dragged myself there when I've really felt rubbish! Not anymore!! Would love to retire but can't as the SSP age has been raised to 66!!
riversidedawn
Member

Re: Employer wants to look at medical records!

It does seem a bit early for them to be asking to see your medical records but as everyone's said they are permitted to do so.

Hopefully they are genuine and are looking to understand your situation and plan for your return. Don't forget you are protected under the disability act.
Charys
Community Champion

Re: Employer wants to look at medical records!

Good....so you will get to see it first.....if thats the choice you are happy with then I hope its the last you hear about it from them. x

BlueMonday
Member

Re: Employer wants to look at medical records!

Hi Charys

I filled the form in as I had an email chasing up the form and they wanted it back. I have ticked the box stating I want to see asking to see what information they will receive. I have nothing to hide and have not prepared get stressed about it, so just let them get on with it, I am starting my radiotherapy in just over a week so I have enough to deal with xx
Charys
Community Champion

Re: Employer wants to look at medical records!

HI BLuemOnday,

 

 

I'm interested in how you got on in resolving this matter, of your medical records?

Janey2
Member

Re: Employer wants to look at medical records!

You don't need any additional pressure at this time.  I would also refuse to share my medical records, as a diagnosis of breast cancer and GP/hospital certificate covers your absence.  There is a very good Macmillan leaflet for employers, which may help you.  I think they may also support you with work issues on a personal level.  Your BCN should be able to point you in the direction of the local office.  You do have some protection through the Equalities Act also and are protected against discrimination.  Good luck and do keep using the forum. x

Hufflepuff
Member

Re: Employer wants to look at medical records!

Hi,

 

I thought that even if you wanted to read your own medical records as a patient, there are still certain procedures to go through. This seems terribly intrusive and insensitive of your employer. I know what I'd say! It's not fair to give you this added stress. I hope you get this sorted soon.

 

Best wishes xx

BlueMonday
Member

Re: Employer wants to look at medical records!

Hi

 

I might ring them tomorrow to clarify but I can get quite emotional at the moment talking about it, it might be better to wait until I have more of an idea of what might be happening. I have an appiontment on Friday to see the oncologist so I will know more then.

 

xx

Charys
Community Champion

Re: Employer wants to look at medical records!

So, do you get the impression they are asking as they want to know how much time you need off ? Oh for goodness sake, yes, it is too early and the pressure is too much !

BlueMonday
Member

Re: Employer wants to look at medical records!

hi

 

thanks for your reply, yes you can ask to see what is sent to them, so I will think about it, it just seems a bit soon to be asking we are not sure about what treatment I will be having so dont know what time off I will need!

 

Thanks for your support xx

Charys
Community Champion

Re: Employer wants to look at medical records!

I have no experience of this at all, as I wasn't working when diagnosed - BUT - I know how I would feel if within a short while of diagnosis my employer asked to see my medical records! I would be really upset and wonder why they were asking, and feel that they had no right to see and read such personal things. I've just read up a short article about the legality of this...yes, they can ask...but you can refuse your permission (as Jobey states). You also have the right to specify what the employer can see, and have the information being sent by the medics to come via you first. If they are wanting it to make reasonable adjustments to your working environment, and planning a phased return for you, I think this can be done via occupational health rather than them seeing all your records. Are you in the type of relationship with them where you can ask their reasons for requesting access?

 

This was the article I read, of course it was only a quick google search and I hope others will be along shortly who have been in this position and can offer informed advice....

 

https://www.staffsquared.com/blog/2016/02/18/what-can-employers-ask-about-an-employees-medical-condi...

 

Would I have given permission? No way. I would have provided proof of diagnosis and verbal information about the treatment I expected to receive, and possibly continued doctors notes if it were really necessary. However, it is grossly insensitive of them in my opinion and legality aside, a very poor way to deal with someone who has had a bc diagnosis.

Jobey68
Member

Re: Employer wants to look at medical records!

I've had a quick google and it seems they can ask you but you are under no obligation to give your consent, it's a new one on me I must say! My employer would have been told to jog on had he asked me that so thank goodness he didn't! 😜

I dont believe it.
Member

Re: Employer wants to look at medical records!

Gosh did not know it was legal. Asking and getting permission are two different things. I believe your medical history is private to you and should remain that way. If they get your records it will show everything in the life's history. Only allow access to what is pertinent to the just now and only if they are paying you whilst you are off. So the start date and nothing before. It's none of your personnel departments business and you certainly should not be having to deal with nonsense like this during this distressing time. Make sure your doctor is very aware of any decisions you come to and that it is recorded clearly in your records.

Jobey68
Member

Re: Employer wants to look at medical records!

Well it may be legal for them to ask but I'm sure you don't have to give your permission, and yes what else do they think they can find out, almost sounds like they are checking up on what you have told them? Like we go around making up a cancer diagnosis! Maybe a copy of your diagnosis letter would be enough ? Xx 

BlueMonday
Member

Re: Employer wants to look at medical records!

hi Jebey

 

Apparently it is legal but they have to ask your permission first! Just not sure what else they would want to know as the sick note from the doctor said 'breast cancer' I have also kept them informed as to whats happening!

 

x

Jobey68
Member

Re: Employer wants to look at medical records!

Hi, welcome to the forum 😊 Always seems and odd thing to say I know but everyone is very welcome on board! 

I must say I've never heard of an employer asking to see your medical records and I certainly wouldn't be in agreement, I may be wrong but I doubt they have any rights to either! I told my employer about my diagnosis but that was it , he certainly never asked any further information. Don't feel pressured in to giving any information your not happy with and I would challenge their rights to it anyhow. 

 

I hope you are recovering well from your surgery, there are various threads across the forum covering all manor of treatments so feel free to join in at any time Xx Jo 

BlueMonday
Member

Employer wants to look at medical records!

Hi

 

I have recently had surgery 9th December and am waiting to find out what treatment I will be having after the result come back from an ocotype text. I recieved an email this morning from work with an attached form , I have been asked to fill it in and return it. It is asking if they can write to my doctors to ask to look at my medical records. Is this something that is normally done, I feel its a bit early as I dont even know what treatment I will be having.

 

Thanks