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Employers don’t have unlimited right to dig for psychiatric records

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in Employment Law,Firing,FMLA Guidelines,Human Resources

When an employee sues you and you know or suspect he may be mentally unstable, it’s tempting to dig for mental health records—perhaps to question his credibility. But if the employee isn’t claiming mental damages, don’t count on even accessing those records.

A recent Illinois district court case addressed the scope of an employer’s right to examine a former employee’s mental health records.  David Kronenberg sued his former employer, the international law firm Baker & McKenzie, for failing to provide a reasonable accommodation under the ADA. The case is Kronenberg v. Baker & McKenzie LLP (No. 09-04137, N.D. Ill., 2010).

The court ruled that the employer could not require Kronenberg to produce his mental health records for purposes of discovery in an ADA lawsuit because he claimed damages only for physical health issues.

Firing instead of accommodation

Kronenberg suffered from a degenerative spinal disk disease since at least...(register to read more)

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