Your Compliance Edge

Legal Issues Related to Recordkeeping

This section provides an overview of some of the legal issues employers may face with respect to recordkeeping under federal law.  You should also be sure to check your state laws for any applicable limitations.      

Confidentiality, Privacy and Security Issues

Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)

Under the ADA, the basic rule is that with limited exceptions, employers must keep confidential any medical information they learn about an applicant or employee.  According to the EEOC, information can be confidential even if it contains no medical diagnosis or treatment course and even if it is not generated by a health care professional.  For example, an employee’s request for a reasonable accommodation would be considered medical information subject to the ADA’s confidentiality requirements.

Information from all medical examinations and inquiries must be kept apart from general personnel files as a separate, confidential medical record, available only under limited conditions.  Such conditions include:

  • Supervisors and managers may be informed regarding necessary restrictions on the work or duties of the employee and necessary accommodations;
  • First aid and safety personnel may be informed, when appropriate, if the disability might require emergency treatment; and
  • Government officials investigating compliance shall be provided relevant information on request.

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