Can my employer make me take a medical exam and give my medical history with another co-worker present?

My employer asked me this a.m. to take a physical exam with their company doctor. This was done on company property. I was instructed by an LVN who works for our company (she’s a co-worker) to complete medical history form. I was asked to disrobe from the waist up and put on hospital gown. The doctor asked me all kinds of questions. I turned and saw another co-worker sitting about 4 feet away, with a hospital gown on with the back open to me. She heard the do. discussing my medical history. I gave the form back to the LVN with doctor’s notes. Later someone asked me why the doctor was asking certain questions. Should I speak with a personal injury attorney about this? In Monterey, CA.

Asked on July 27, 2010 under Employment Labor Law, California


M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

Sounds like a scene from an old Army movie where they all took physicals in a line.  Yes, I would have to question this method under privacy issues. I am sure that you are thinking "HIPAA" here.  HIPAA has to do with the transmission of information relating to your health.  Although your employer is not necessarily covered by HIPAA, the doctor certainly is.  And you have a right not to disclose your medical - or any other personal information - information to your co-workers.  I would seek consultation from someone in your area regarding the procedure here and your right to object to same.  There is absolutely no reason why the physicals can not be conducted in a more private setting and without the help of a co-worker.  This was a bad judgement call.  Good luck.

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