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Employers breach medical privacy - unions

#1 User is offline   Bam 

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Posted 17 November 2012 - 11:04 PM

The ACTU has alleged that employers are meddling in the medical affairs of their employees, including:
  • Requiring employees to visit company-approved doctors
  • Requiring employees to disclose their entire medical history
  • Accompanying employees to medical appointments

I do not know if these allegations are true, but if so they are a rather disturbing breach of privacy.
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#2 User is offline   Bam 

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Posted 17 November 2012 - 11:10 PM

The Age has another article here: Bosses intruding on workers' doctor visits

Quote

BOSSES are increasingly attending doctor appointments with sick employees - and in some cases trying to alter their medical certificates to get them back to work sooner, unions say.

The trend, observed by the ACTU, raises unions' fears that the privacy of ill workers is being eroded. ACTU assistant secretary Michael Borowick said the council had seen a rise in the number of workers being given false or misleading information about their rights when ill or injured.
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#3 User is offline   Roderick 

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Posted 18 November 2012 - 03:56 AM

A lot depends on just how the company goes about it and the ethics of the company's doctor(s).

Many years ago I was employed at Cockatto Island Dockyard (ferry ride to and from work :emot-waycool: ).
With back injuries they required attendance at their designated specialists after a fortnight off work; the unions never had a problem with this arrangement and neither did those with genuine injuries.
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#4 User is offline   scotto 

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Posted 18 November 2012 - 06:24 AM

View PostBam, on 17 November 2012 - 11:04 PM, said:

The ACTU has alleged that employers are meddling in the medical affairs of their employees, including:
  • Requiring employees to visit company-approved doctors
  • Requiring employees to disclose their entire medical history
  • Accompanying employees to medical appointments

I do not know if these allegations are true, but if so they are a rather disturbing breach of privacy.

I can' speak for medicos, but when I was in private practice [psychologist], I had a couple of occasions when employers called asking questions about clients and one did in fact ask if he could come to the appointment. Bizarre. This was some years ago.
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#5 User is offline   Neil 

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Posted 18 November 2012 - 07:32 AM

I wonder how much money it costs a company for a boss to take off time from work to go to the doctor with an employee?
And how much time.
Does he get docked for time off work?

After all if an employee was to take time off to take their sick child to the doctor they would lose pay.
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#6 User is offline   dumbcluck 

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Posted 18 November 2012 - 09:13 AM

I worked for a Federal Statutory Authority and it had it's own doctors. Every medical problem noted (by their doctors) and every certificate I presented for sick leave and/or workers compensation from my doctors were all attached to my file.All employees files and their contents were supposed to be confidential under penalty of a fine and/or prison term.
It is a good idea though to have a look at your file.....to see if there are any "secret" notations to and from medical staff / officers. I don't know about private firms but we had the right to go through our files and do what they called "annotations" under the FOI Act. This means that you can look for any 'comments' by any officer on your performance, character etc....and if you are of the view that these comments are derogatory and can be harmful to your career you have the right to delete them. There is a procedure under the Act for this.
I remember the people living opposite us, her husband worked for the same Statutory Authority as a truck driver.She suspected something like this but did not know about the right to "annotate". I told her and when her husband followed the procedure and looked at his file....she came crying at my place one day. It seems that her husband found a document on his file which actually analyzed their marital relationship...stating that it may be a lack of sex....or alcoholism on his part. She was crying with embarrassment as she thought that a lot a people are seeing this document and this was supposed to be a private matter between a husband and wife. Further, if her husband wanted to further his career (become a supervisor etc) this document may ruin his chances. I advised her and him to quickly get that out of their file (it was written by clerical staff in the form of an opinion and no one told them that they had a right to get it out of their file) which they did (I advised them about the procedure). I mean this was unbelievable!
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#7 User is offline   scotto 

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Posted 18 November 2012 - 09:43 AM

View PostNeil, on 18 November 2012 - 07:32 AM, said:

I wonder how much money it costs a company for a boss to take off time from work to go to the doctor with an employee?
And how much time.
Does he get docked for time off work?

After all if an employee was to take time off to take their sick child to the doctor they would lose pay.

It's a bizarre behaviour. Granted, a boss might have some issues about a worker, but this kind of intervention is right over the line.
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