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Doctor details: what medical information is HR entitled to?

Filion Wakely Thorup Angeletti associate Deborah Hudson addresses the issue of suspicious medical notes and what HR can do to reduce the effect.

Video transcript below:

Caitlin Nobes, HRM TV
Caitlin Nobes:
 Ever had a doctor’s note that made you look twice?  What is your legal right for more information?  My name is Caitlin Nobes, welcome to HRM TV.

Suspicious medical notes seem to increase in the summertime as workers try to [drag] their time in the sun.  Lawyers see all kinds of interesting claims.

Deborah Hudson, Filion Wakely Thorup Angeletti
Deborah Hudson:
 We recently had a circumstance where an employee provided a note that indicated they had be off all summer due to allergies of their airconditioning.  Another classic example is when employees are already on vacation abroad and they provide a medical note from a doctor abroad indicating that they are ill and they need to stay longer on this vacation.

Caitlin Nobes:  An employee is required to tell employers their physical limitations and the duration of those limitations.  This may not be available right away, but they have to tell their employer as soon as they can and continue to keep them informed.  Lawyers recommend drafting a letter to the  individual with a copy to their doctor asking specific questions about their abilities and their need for accommodation.  And it’s not just medical information you can request.  

Deborah Hudson:  In suspicious circumstances, we encourage you to ask for more information and sometimes this information may not even be medical information.  So for example in the case where an employee is abroad and sends a sick note indicating their need to stay longer you may consider even asking for the documentation relating to when they booked their flight, the original itinerary and when they changed that flight itinerary.

Caitlin Nobes:  If you want more information on your legal rights to access medical information, check the HRM legal section.  Thanks for watching HRM TV.

Read:
Medical certificates: privacy versus policy
Requesting a doctor`s note: be careful what you ask for
Should 'fit notes' replace 'sick notes'?