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Question
Posted by: Anette | 2010/08/03

Bipolar - Health Questionaire

Dear Cybershrink
I started a new job3 months ago after being retrenched. This company basically took us over. Now they want us to complete a health questionaire for their records and they are asking all kinds of personal questions. Like do you suffer from IBS, Anxiety disorders, Mental Disorders, Stress Related Disorders etc. They want details of previous hospitalisations, surgeries etc. Because I am Bipolar I don''t want to divulge any information. The form states that if you withhold any information you can be dismissed. This sounds like a fishing expidition to me. I work and travel 50/50%. But I don''t do hard labour and my mental state surely has got nothing to do with them. If I have to list all my Physical ailments they will have to give me a lot more space! On top of the Bipolar I have ADHD. I will be coming up for promotion soon, which is great seeing that I have only been with the company for only 3 months! I have worked very hard the past 3 months to prove myself and I feel disclosing this information will ruin my chances at a promotion. I don''t want to ruin my chances by revealing my condition. I feel it has got nothing to do with them. They even want my Dr''s contact details, that is still fine in case of an emergency but if I have not been with her for longer that 6 months they want my pervious dr''s contact details! I feel they will be biased towards me if I disclose any information. This condition and any other ailments I might have is highly personal and I only disclosed it to 3 of my friends and my sister. What will happen if my manager now knows? How do you think I should address this issue without raising suspisions regarding a possible mental health issue I might have.

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Our expert says:
Expert ImageCyberShrink

I agree with Maria - discuss this with the Dept of Labour and perhaps CCHMS and even a good labour lawyer - I don't think they're allowed such a fishing expedition, and if they are, they shouldn't be. I don't think they're allowed to discriminate against people with existing medical conditions . Maybe they need a reminder from the Dept and/or a lawyer that they are not allowed to do this, let alone to demand such information under threats and duress. And your doctor is NOT allowed to provide any medical information to the employer without your informed and express consent.

The information provided does not constitute a diagnosis of your condition. You should consult a medical practitioner or other appropriate health care professional for a physical exmanication, diagnosis and formal advice. Health24 and the expert accept no responsibility or liability for any damage or personal harm you may suffer resulting from making use of this content.

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Our users say:
Posted by: Purple | 2010/08/03

Ask them what purpose the information is being put to?
They might just keep it on file in case you have an accident and try to claim for injuries that you actually already had.
It might be for their disability stats.
Your manager might never actually see the form.

Reply to Purple
Posted by: Maria | 2010/08/03

It''s a tough one Anette. I''ve had to disclose my depression since it has at times been so obvious that there is something wrong with me, but I would not be keen to fill it in on a form either. You don''t want to tell the truth, but you don''t want to lie either. Perhaps just tell your manager that you are in principle opposed to supplying any health information that is not relevant for your job, as you feel it can be used to indirectly discriminate against people. If she tells you they won''t do that then simply say that you are glad to hear that.

Reply to Maria
Posted by: Anette | 2010/08/03

I spoke to a labour consultant and they stated that they may only ask for information that may affect my work. But, my problem is, how do I refuse to answer this questionaire and not raise suspicions. I need to find a nice way to tell the manager that I don''t feel that the information requested is appropriate for my job description. The manager will tell me don''t worry, It will be kept in the strictest confidence, but I know that she will be biased towards me after disclosing the information. This has happened to me in the past. I have survived for 11 years without disclosing my diagnosis to an employer (except once), and I think it also helps me in a way. I know I need to stay healthy and focused because I am so scared they find out my diagnosis. I am up for a big promotion in such a short time at the company. It took a lot of hard work the past 3 months to get them on my side. I don''t want to ruin this now.

Reply to Anette
Posted by: Maria | 2010/08/03

Anette, I don''t think they are legally allowed to force you to disclose health issues. How are your colleauges responding to this? Your doctor is definitely not legally allowed to give them any information without your consent. Perhaps contact the Department of Labour and ask what you should do?

Reply to Maria
Posted by: cybershrink | 2010/08/03

I agree with Maria - discuss this with the Dept of Labour and perhaps CCHMS and even a good labour lawyer - I don't think they're allowed such a fishing expedition, and if they are, they shouldn't be. I don't think they're allowed to discriminate against people with existing medical conditions . Maybe they need a reminder from the Dept and/or a lawyer that they are not allowed to do this, let alone to demand such information under threats and duress. And your doctor is NOT allowed to provide any medical information to the employer without your informed and express consent.

Reply to cybershrink

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