Question to Ask the Workplace Doctors about disclosure of information:
I had a meeting with my employer’s doctor concerning a medical problem I had. He asked me to sign to give my consent for him to contact my GP for further information. I asked what he wanted to find out. In response to my question he moved the form away from me and moved on to the next part of the interview without answering my question. After the interview the doctor stated in a letter to me and my company’s HR department that I had refused permission for him to contact my GP. Which was blatantly wrong and an obvious lie. That was about a year ago and I did not make a formal complaint about it but informed the HR representative dealing with my case that what the doctor had written was untrue. I have another interview with him in a week’s time and I am wondering what my options are if this happens again.
It would have been a good idea to have done something more than notify HR last time, if he really did blatantly lie. He may not have thought he was lying though. It could be if you asked “Why?” in what seemed to him to be an aggressive tone he may have taken that as resistance amounting to refusal. What he would consider an aggressive tone may not match your idea of it at all. However, unless the HR representative documented your conversation and put it in your file, there is no way to show your concerns from last time. You don’t want to make that to happen this time, so you should be proactive.
Contact an HR representative as soon as you can, in writing, and state what happened last time. Then say that you want to make sure everything goes alright this time and are letting them know in advance that you are willing to sign forms that are required and that seem appropriate to you, but you will not sign them without some kind of explanation and that is what you will ask for again if the doctor asks for the same form. The one thing you need to be certain about though is if you are required to agree to release files about work-related conditions and refusal to do so could cost you your job or medical benefits.If your condition has something to do with work and there is a policy that employees have to let the doctor have access to your records, asking the question, “Why?” is probably a moot point anyway. You are required to let the company doctor get your records so he can find out about other treatment, medicines you are taking, the prognosis, and related problems for which you are also being treated.I think though if you get this cleared up before the exam you’ll be better prepared to courteously say, “This is what happened last time and I don’t want you to think I’m refusing to sign anything. I’m just asking, ‘What do you want it for?'”If he once again moves the form away and continues, stop him and say that you’re concerned that he might write another letter, so you’d like to this cleared up right then. If he still refuses, finish the interview and go immediately to HR about it, telling them what happened.I think you can figure you’ll be asked for the medical release, so you might as well be prepared for it and be prepared to sign it, if that is what your company’s policy requires.Best wishes to you with this!
Tina Lewis Rowe