After being out sick, what medical information are you required to give an employer in order to return to work?

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After being out sick, what medical information are you required to give an employer in order to return to work?

I am a firefighter. My contract states that the Chief may ask for a doctor’s note if an employee is out more than 3 days. I was asked for a note and complied; the note that stated that I was fit to return to work. There were no other details on the note other than I was fit to return to work. The Deputy is now trying to order me to give detailed information on my illness, treatment, diagnosis, level of incapacitation, and date permitted to return to work. I was allowed to work a 10 hour shift prior to being asked for the note. Is this a violation of HIPAA or any other law?

Asked on December 16, 2010 under Employment Labor Law, Massachusetts

Answers:

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

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

Listen, I do not think that you have to give any more information than that you were treated for a general matter (flu, ear ache, etc.) and that the matter was resolved and that you are cleared to go back to work and to resume your regular duties.  But I would make sure that I read through the contract with a fine tooth comb on the issue.  Are you part of a union?  Then I might also contact the union reprensentative and see what he or she has to say on the matter.  If the contract does not state otherwise then I think you do not have to be so specific in the disclosure as the Deputy wants.  I would respectfully refuse and tell him it violates your privacy rights. Good luck to you.  


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