An employee does not wish to disclose her illness. 9 weeks of certificates stating, “unfit for work” have been received. Can a company doctor disclose the illness to the employer or can we insist on knowing the nature of the illness or move to dismissal or some other action?

Posted in : First Tuesday Q&A ROI on 8 January 2013
Elaine Mettler
Arthur Cox
Issues covered:

This is potentially difficult as medical information is considered to be sensitive personal data under the Data Protection Acts 1988 and 2003 (“the Acts”). Employers need to be mindful of the processing obligations under the Acts, especially with regards to sensitive personal data. Usually this will require the consent of the individual data subject.

However, an employer is obliged to ensure a safe workplace and, therefore, they may have a legitimate reason to request details of the employee’s illness where the period of absence is continuing and if they have reasonable cause for concern in relation to the employee’s presence at work. Employers must be mindful of their obligations to

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Back to Q&A's This article is correct at 02/09/2015

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Elaine Mettler
Arthur Cox

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