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My employer wants me to disclose the nature of illness

  • 25-08-2017 7:16pm
    #1
    Registered Users Posts: 78 ✭✭ Shinsen


    Hi all,

    I'd need an advice please.
    I've been off from work for an illness for some weeks. My company sent me to an occupational doctor for a visit. With the doctor I had a confidential conversation, he said that he was going to talk with my company, that he was going to say that I'm unfit to work without disclosing the nature of my illness. He said exactly the words that he was going to report to the company, nothing more, nothing less. He was was detailed on that matter.
    Later, I received a call from my employer. They said that they want to know the nature of the illness and they said that the occupational doctor told them that if they wanted to know the nature of the illness, HR can ask me directly. I doubt very much that this was said from the doctor, he didn't mention anything about it.
    Another concern is in relation to regular contacts in which I have to engage with HR. They want me to go to my GP every week for a weekly certificate and they want me to call HR every week as well. All this, despite it's been said that for the moment the lenght of my sickness leave is undefinite.
    I wonder if the legislation requires that, in that case ok I'll do it. But if not, to be honest, repetitive visits to a GP for a certificate (that I have to pay each time by the way), and calls with HR, will cause me just more distress. I'm not sure what is the reason behind it, apart from controlling me, I think that they want to exhaust me so that I'll finally get back to work. Instead, I think this will cause me just more pressure and may slow the process of recovery as well. What I really need now, beside the medical examinations that i have to follow, is resting and having a break from work.
    If you could give me any sort of advise, I'd appreciate it very much.
    Thank you.
    Tagged:


«13

Comments

  • Registered Users Posts: 2,874 ✭✭✭ blackbox


    As far as I am aware you have no obligation to disclose the nature of your illness, but it would be reasonable to indicate when you expect to be back to work as they have a business to run in your absence. It would also be reasonable for them to be able to tell a replacement how long they can expect to be kept or to tell someone who has to cover for you how long it will go on for.

    Does the company pay you while you are ill? If so, it is likely to be part of your contract that you provide them with GP certificates. In any case you will need certificates to claim social welfare.

    If they believe you are not going to be able to work for them any more they may terminate your contract.

    .


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 849 Tenigate


    Don't be bullied by your employer. I know it requires effort, but it might be worth taking an hour out of your week to have a friendly chat with your solicitor and let him jot down the reason you're out of work and the correspondence you have had with your employer since then.

    Do provide your employer with weekly certs if that's what they're looking for.
    If i were you, I'd scan and email them to hr at the same time every week, and immediately follow it up with a phonecall to hr.. it's not unreasonable. Don't get drawn into a conversation or making commitments.. just say you still aren't in a position to return to work.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 6,926 ✭✭✭ davo10


    Tenigate wrote: »
    Don't be bullied by your employer. I know it requires effort, but it might be worth taking an hour out of your week to have a friendly chat with your solicitor and let him jot down the reason you're out of work and the correspondence you have had with your employer since then.

    Do provide your employer with weekly certs if that's what they're looking for.
    If i were you, I'd scan and email them to hr at the same time every week, and immediately follow it up with a phonecall to hr.. it's not unreasonable. Don't get drawn into a conversation or making commitments.. just say you still aren't in a position to return to work.

    Good advice here, though "bullied" may not be the appropriate term. Some employers may not accept a scan.

    Your contract of employment should lay out the frequency of certs required. Weekly is not unreasonable as stated above.

    Just be aware, if you are absent long term, your employer can legally terminate your employment.


  • Registered Users Posts: 78 ✭✭ Shinsen


    First of all thank you for your comments.
    It's not up to me saying when I can be back to work, it's the doctor of the company who certified that I'm unfit and, for the moment, for an undefinite time.
    Yes they pay, at the moment. I have provided medical certificates so far. Considering that the occupational doctor put me on sick leave for an undefinite time, my GP thought of making a certificate for 3 weeks. HR didn't accept it, they want it every week.


  • Registered Users Posts: 78 ✭✭ Shinsen


    davo10 wrote: »

    Just be aware, if you are absent long term, your employer can legally terminate your employment.

    How long? And why?


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  • Closed Accounts Posts: 6,926 ✭✭✭ davo10


    moquinetta wrote: »
    First of all thank you for your comments.
    It's not up to me saying when I can be back to work, it's the doctor of the company who certified that I'm unfit and, for the moment, for an undefinite time.
    Yes they pay, at the moment. I have provided medical certificates so far. Considering that the occupational doctor put me on sick leave for an undefinite time, my GP thought of making a certificate for 3 weeks. HR didn't accept it, they want it every week.

    To be fair, it's not up to your GP to dictate frequency of certs. What does your contract say?


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 6,926 ✭✭✭ davo10


    moquinetta wrote: »
    How long? And why?

    The "why" first, though of course you have rights in relation to sick leave, the burden placed on your employer must also be recognised.

    How long? That is not defined, it would be up to an employer to show the impact of your absence to an unfair dismissals hearing.

    Read "capability"

    http://www.citizensinformation.ie/en/employment/unemployment_and_redundancy/dismissal/fair_grounds_for_dismissal.html


  • Registered Users Posts: 78 ✭✭ Shinsen


    davo10 wrote: »
    To be fair, it's not up to your GP to dictate frequency of certs. What does your contract say?

    The GP genuinely thought of doing a certificate for that lenght for not having me to go to them every few days, I wasn't aware of the weekly rule yet.
    There's no mention of it on the contract of weekly certificates.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 849 Tenigate


    moquinetta wrote: »
    The GP genuinely thought of doing a certificate for that lenght for not having me to go to them every few days, I wasn't aware of the weekly rule yet.

    Your gp can sign you off for 3 weeks, no problem. Just ask him/her to get the secretary to do up a weekly cert. You may have to pay an admin fee.


  • Registered Users Posts: 78 ✭✭ Shinsen


    davo10 wrote: »
    The "why" first, though of course you have rights in relation to sick leave, the burden placed on your employer must also be recognised.

    How long? That is not defined, it would be up to an employer to show the impact of your absence to an unfair dismissals hearing.

    Read "capability"

    Thank you.
    What about this paragraph? "In terms of medical evidence you may be required to attend your employer's medical expert. If there is a conflict of medical evidence between you and your employer as to the possible return date, your employer will be expected to get a second opinion before taking the decision to dismiss you."
    I have attended the employer's medical expert, they got the second opinion. Following the second opinion, I am unfit.


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  • Closed Accounts Posts: 6,926 ✭✭✭ davo10


    moquinetta wrote: »
    Thank you.
    What about this paragraph? "In terms of medical evidence you may be required to attend your employer's medical expert. If there is a conflict of medical evidence between you and your employer as to the possible return date, your employer will be expected to get a second opinion before taking the decision to dismiss you."
    I have attended the employer's medical expert, they got the second opinion. Following the second opinion, I am unfit.

    The second opinion is not your GP, it would be an independent GP.

    It would be a legal minefield for an employer to dismiss you so it would have to be a long term absence for them to travel that road. But, don't discount it, the bigger the company the less they will care. But if you are unable to work, and if both the company Doctor and your GP concur, then the only issue is the length of absence.

    If your contract doesn't define a certification period it is open to interpretation. Weekly or fortnightly is the norm so if they can show that other employees had similar requirements, then they will be on solid ground.


  • Registered Users Posts: 174 ✭✭ mr_cochise


    Your employer is not legally required to pay you while you are off sick. What harm is there in telling them the nature of your illness? They need to account for the money paid out to ensure they are not being scammed. Work with them, be open with them and you will find that they will actually be supportive to your situation.
    All you have to do is recognise that they have procedures to follow in these circumstances and are not out to get you.


  • Registered Users Posts: 78 ✭✭ Shinsen


    davo10 wrote: »
    The second opinion is not your GP, it would be an independent GP.

    Sorry, English is not my first language, I might have not explained myself in a proper way.
    So far in my messages I have distinguished between Occupational doctor and GP.
    My company sent me to the Occupational doctor for having a second opinion. He also said that I am unfit.


  • Registered Users Posts: 78 ✭✭ Shinsen


    mr_cochise wrote: »
    Your employer is not legally required to pay you while you are off sick. What harm is there in telling them the nature of your illness? They need to account for the money paid out to ensure they are not being scammed. Work with them, be open with them and you will find that they will actually be supportive to your situation.
    All you have to do is recognise that they have procedures to follow in these circumstances and are not out to get you.

    Yes they are, in the contract it says that employees are entitled to up to six months paid sick leave.
    I cannot comment on disclosing the nature of illness, that's the reason why I've opened the forum for an advice. However, it's a serious and delicate condition and not even doctors know exactly what it is, for this reason I need time for medical tests and examinations.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 6,926 ✭✭✭ davo10


    mr_cochise wrote: »
    Your employer is not legally required to pay you while you are off sick. What harm is there in telling them the nature of your illness? They need to account for the money paid out to ensure they are not being scammed. Work with them, be open with them and you will find that they will actually be supportive to your situation.
    All you have to do is recognise that they have procedures to follow in these circumstances and are not out to get you.

    1. Data protection.
    2. The employer is not entitled to information about nature of illness under patient confidentiality legislation.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 6,926 ✭✭✭ davo10


    moquinetta wrote: »
    Sorry, English is not my first language, I might have not explained myself in a proper way.
    So far in my messages I have distinguished between Occupational doctor and GP.
    My company sent me to the Occupational doctor for having a second opinion. He also said that I am unfit.

    Sorry, to clarify, the company GP is not a second opinion. The second opinion is given by a GP not employed by the company, it is an iinfependent GP with no connection with your employer and is selected with your agreement.


  • Registered Users Posts: 78 ✭✭ Shinsen


    davo10 wrote: »
    Sorry, to clarify, the company GP is not a second opinion. The second opinion is given by a GP not employed by the company, it is an iinfependent GP with no connection with your employer and is selected with your agreement.

    Thank you, I understand now what you mean.
    Ok, then I must have put it in better words. I wrote 'company's gp' just to abbreviate or better... to distinguish him from my GP, but I didn't mean to say that he's a doctor who works for my company.
    He's a doctor who works for an external company, they do independent examinations. I hope that clarifies. My company sent me there, however they are externals, my company paid for my visit to them.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 6,926 ✭✭✭ davo10


    Mr_cochise (youve deleted post) if by specifics you mean informing the employer of the nature of your illness, an employee contract cannot over ride your statutory rights. Patient confidentiality is sacrosanct, an employee is not required to give details about illness, a Doctor cannot be compelled to divulge it to an employer against the patient's wishes.


  • Registered Users Posts: 78 ✭✭ Shinsen


    davo10 wrote: »
    If by specifics you mean informing the employer of the nature of your illness, an employee contract cannot over ride your statutory rights. Patient confidentiality is sacrosanct, an employee is not required to give details about illness, a Doctor cannot be compelled to divulge it to an employer against the patient's wishes.

    I was hoping to hear that!


  • Registered Users Posts: 14,305 ✭✭✭✭ jimmycrackcorm


    Tenigate wrote:
    Your gp can sign you off for 3 weeks, no problem. Just ask him/her to get the secretary to do up a weekly cert. You may have to pay an admin fee.

    This solves the problem of weekly certs. But by no means do you have to disclose the nature of the illness to your employer. Either the doctor says you are fit for work or not.


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  • Registered Users Posts: 50 ✭✭✭ Couchpotato82


    You have no obligation to tell your employers anything as long as the Cerys keep coming in.
    However, if you get overly obtuse in your dealings with them it will, unfortunately, come against you in the future as regards promotion/career progression. You are being paid for not working. You are costing them money and like all profit based organisations they'll view you as a liability and they won't forget it when you get back to work. For an easy life I'd be honest with the company. Speak to the most trusted manager you have access to. Outline briefly your issues and how important it is to you for your chat to be confidential.


  • Registered Users Posts: 78 ✭✭ Shinsen


    You have no obligation to tell your employers anything as long as the Cerys keep coming in.
    However, if you get overly obtuse in your dealings with them it will, unfortunately, come against you in the future as regards promotion/career progression. You are being paid for not working. You are costing them money and like all profit based organisations they'll view you as a liability and they won't forget it when you get back to work. For an easy life I'd be honest with the company. Speak to the most trusted manager you have access to. Outline briefly your issues and how important it is to you for your chat to be confidential.

    I understand and I appreciate that you wrote this here, however I am more focussed on my health now. Whatever happens later, will happen. I cannot think too much ahead at the moment. Now I just need to know if there is some support and if I can be entitled of privacy. And peace, because out of everything, this is what I mostly need at the present moment.


  • Registered Users Posts: 405 ✭✭ NotInventedHere


    You have no obligation to tell your employers anything as long as the Cerys keep coming in.
    However, if you get overly obtuse in your dealings with them it will, unfortunately, come against you in the future as regards promotion/career progression. You are being paid for not working. You are costing them money and like all profit based organisations they'll view you as a liability and they won't forget it when you get back to work. For an easy life I'd be honest with the company. Speak to the most trusted manager you have access to. Outline briefly your issues and how important it is to you for your chat to be confidential.

    Your advice is is extremely naive. Lets say you had a sexually transmitted disease, would you like your employer to know?


  • Registered Users Posts: 78 ✭✭ Shinsen


    It has happened that after all the effort of keeping the nature of my illness as confidential, this confidentiality has been broken.
    Because I have been off sick for a few months now, I have to incur into other medical appointments arranged by the insurance company that will cover part of my salary. The exchange of information has been only between them and I.
    Until this week, a risk admnistration company which I don't know yet what is their involvement, they have forwarded the information with the medical appointments to my employer who have forwarded to me.
    I am really very annoyed and disappointed now.
    Do I have any right to make a complaint against this company?


  • Banned (with Prison Access) Posts: 492 ✭✭ Gerrup Outta Dat!


    I was out of work for one day as I woke up with a pounding migraine and I was vomiting. You don't need a sick cert in that company unless you are out on a Monday, Friday or three days in a row.

    I was absent on a Wednesday.

    My supervisor asked me exactly what was wrong with me when I returned.
    I told her I don't need a sick cert and nowhere in the employee handbook does it say I have to disclose the nature of my illness. She insisted I told her. On principle, I vehemently refused.

    She called in the manager who backed her up and told me not to disobey the supervisor :confused: No amount of pointing to the handbook made him or her back down.

    I just eventually said "Do you want to know .. do you really? I had the fukcing sh1ts". They told me there'd be disciplinary actions for my outburst but I just fobbed it off as I knew I had accepted another job at that stage and I was just in the middle of penning my resignation letter when she called me in.

    Don't accept any kind of bullying from those managers.


  • Registered Users Posts: 174 ✭✭ mr_cochise


    Hi Shinsen,
    it is up to you if you want to complain and to continue to withhold information.
    However, this is likely to result in you eventually having all payments from your employer or the insurance company cut off.

    It is my advice that you look at this from it being a process as opposed to some people being nosey. The likely reality is that they don't really care what the nature of your illness is, but to approve payments to you, they need to verify that you are ill. Once they do this, they just get on with the rest of their daily tasks.
    Don't take this personally. It is simply a process to ensure that the sick pay scheme is not abused.


  • Registered Users Posts: 527 ✭✭✭ All My Stars Aligned


    Shinsen wrote: »
    It has happened that after all the effort of keeping the nature of my illness as confidential, this confidentiality has been broken.
    Because I have been off sick for a few months now, I have to incur into other medical appointments arranged by the insurance company that will cover part of my salary. The exchange of information has been only between them and I.
    Until this week, a risk admnistration company which I don't know yet what is their involvement, they have forwarded the information with the medical appointments to my employer who have forwarded to me.
    I am really very annoyed and disappointed now.
    Do I have any right to make a complaint against this company?

    Probably not what you would like to hear but I would strongly advise taking some legal advise for a firm that specialise in employment law. Advise gained from Boards, however well intentioned, may not be appropriate to you circumstance.

    I hope your heath is improving.


  • Registered Users Posts: 1,275 ✭✭✭ Gerry T


    mr_cochise wrote:
    It is my advice that you look at this from it being a process as opposed to some people being nosey. The likely reality is that they don't really care what the nature of your illness is, but to approve payments to you, they need to verify that you are ill. Once they do this, they just get on with the rest of their daily tasks. Don't take this personally. It is simply a process to ensure that the sick pay scheme is not abused.


    They got the verification from the doctor and as you say they don't care what the illness is.
    So in your opinion if the OP tells the employer their suffering from neck pain for example that the employer will then be satisfied. That's just silly, the employer is not qualified to judge.
    If the OP has depression, which carries a stigma then I wouldn't advise they disclose. The employer is being a bully.


  • Registered Users Posts: 78 ✭✭ Shinsen


    mr_cochise wrote: »
    Hi Shinsen,
    it is up to you if you want to complain and to continue to withhold information.
    However, this is likely to result in you eventually having all payments from your employer or the insurance company cut off.

    It is my advice that you look at this from it being a process as opposed to some people being nosey. The likely reality is that they don't really care what the nature of your illness is, but to approve payments to you, they need to verify that you are ill. Once they do this, they just get on with the rest of their daily tasks.
    Don't take this personally. It is simply a process to ensure that the sick pay scheme is not abused.

    I appreciate what you say. However, I was previously visited by an Occupational therapist who confirmed to my employer that I am unfit to work. He told me as well that I am entitled not to disclose the nature of my illness.


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  • Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators, Sports Moderators Posts: 26,577 Mod ✭✭✭✭ Turtwig


    Shinsen wrote: »
    It has happened that after all the effort of keeping the nature of my illness as confidential, this confidentiality has been broken.
    Because I have been off sick for a few months now, I have to incur into other medical appointments arranged by the insurance company that will cover part of my salary. The exchange of information has been only between them and I.
    Until this week, a risk admnistration company which I don't know yet what is their involvement, they have forwarded the information with the medical appointments to my employer who have forwarded to me.
    I am really very annoyed and disappointed now.
    Do I have any right to make a complaint against this company?

    You have certificates from the relevant professionals stating you are unfit to work. That should have been enough to satisfy your employer.

    Where this get's messy is you may have consented in either an exchange with your employer, your insurer or your work contract for the data exchange from insurance company to a party such as the risk administration. Or your employer may have breached your consent.

    You could seek legal advice and perhaps consult the data protection commissioner if you feel aggrieved? It also depends on exactly what data was forwarded to your employer. The information about appointments may be generic attended hospital at a certain time on a certain date for X amount of euros stuff.


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