Who needs to know what when? Your health is your business. It may be that you lose some of your privacy at work when using your employer’s email, desk, filing cabinet, or classroom, but when it comes to your health and your medical information, your right to privacy is not debatable — yet, it continues to be an issue for Maryland educators. Follow the tips below to keep your health your business.
Submitting a medical note
• Submit any medical notes required for sick leave directly to your local board of education ADA/FMLA* compliance officer, not to your principal.
• A medical note should simply state that you were under a doctor’s care during the relevant time period. If extended leave is involved, your doctor should complete the necessary FMLA forms.
• Documentation needed to verify accommodations should also go directly to the ADA officer, not your principal.
What about fitness for duty exams?
When a local board of education directs an employee to a fitness for duty exam, the doctor’s office often requires the employee to sign a broad release that gives the doctor access to your complete medical history and allows the doctor to share that information with your employer. Remember these three things:
1. An overly broad release is likely in violation of the ADA, which prohibits disability-related inquiries that are not job related.
2. An overly broad release also violates the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA), which prohibits employers from collecting genetic information, such as family medical history.
3. DO NOT sign an overly broad medical release for your employer.
Call your UniServ director — the law strictly regulates an employer’s right to medical information.
If you are pressured or required to release a medical note to your principal or to sign releases giving access to your medical records, your local affiliate and MSEA will take action to protect your right to privacy.
*Americans with Disabilities/Family Medical Leave Act