When a collection company calls, may we disclose employee medical info? — Business Management Daily: Free Reports on Human Resources, Employment Law, Office Management, Office Communication, Office Technology and Small Business Tax Business Management Daily

When a collection company calls, may we disclose employee medical info?

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Q. May an employer provide an employee’s medical information to a collection company?

No. Under the ADA, employers are required to keep medical information regarding applicants and employees confidential. According to the EEOC, the following are limited exceptions to this requirement:

  1. Supervisors and managers may be provided with information regarding an employee’s work restrictions and necessary accommodations.
  2. Safety personnel may be informed if a worker’s disability could require medical treatment.
  3. Government representatives investigating ADA compliance must be provided with relevant information.
  4. Employers may provide such information to state workers’ compensation agencies, second-injury funds or workers’ compensation insurance carriers under applicable workers’ compensation laws.
  5. Employers may use such information for insurance purposes.

According to the EEOC, a collection company’s need for medical information regarding an employee is unlikely to fall within any of the five stated exceptions. Thus, disclosure of medical information to a collection company would probably violate the ADA’s confidentiality provision.

Employers should note that the ADA’s confidentiality requirements include information that an employee voluntarily discloses. The limitation on disclosure exists even after an individual is no longer an applicant or employee.

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