We are pleased to report that in response to a Union grievance, River Rock has ended a practice that did not respect members' rights to medical privacy.
What was the problem?
When an employee submitted a sick note or Occupational Fitness Assessment Form (OFAF) that resulted in follow-up questions for the doctor, the Employer would sometimes have the employee sign a form so the Employer could speak directly with their doctor. Even with the employee's permission, this direct contact with their doctor was a breach of the employee's right to medical privacy. In short, the law requires employers to use the least invasive means necessary to medically verify an injury or illness, or workplace restrictions and limitations arising from an injury or illness. Direct phone or email contact with an employee's doctor can be extremely invasive of medical privacy and is typically not allowed.
What happens now?
If the Employer thinks it requires additional medical information, it will now provide a request in writing for the employee to take to their doctor. If the employee is concerned that the Employer is requesting either too much medical information, or information the Employer is not entitled to, they can review the written request with a Union Steward or Staff Representative. The employee can also ask their doctor to show them the written medical information they are going to send to the Employer before it is sent. This way, employees remain aware, and in better control, of the medical information that is being requested from and provided by their doctor.
With the Employer having ended its old practice, members' medical privacy is now better protected.
If you have any questions or concerns about this change or issues related to a medical absence from or return to work, please speak with a Steward at River Rock or the Union Staff Representative.
Download PDF of notice here.
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