Handling Medical Health Information: An in-depth training session for employers and unions
Medical reports may contain information that is highly personal and sensitive in nature. As a result, a request for medical information from an employee in the workplace raises a host of privacy and human rights concerns. Nevertheless, employers and unions are often required to handle private employee health information in order to facilitate accommodation, sick leave and/or disability benefits. Hence, when dealing with medical health records, it is crucial for workplace parties to strike an appropriate balance between obtaining the requisite medical information and respecting employee privacy.Working through interactive exercises and realistic scenarios with the guidance of experienced counsel and medical experts, participants will gain the skills and knowledge to:
- Craft effective requests for medical information that comply with human rights and privacy law
- Understand health records and respond appropriately to vague or deficient medical reports
- Identify when medical information from a specialist, psychologist or psychiatrist is required for the purposes of sick leave, accommodation or disability benefits
- Comply with federal and provincial privacy legislation and protect confidential medical information in the workplace
- Avoid wasted time litigating over the collection, storage and disclosure of medical information
- Use medical evidence effectively in the grievance and arbitration process
7:45 a.m. – 8:45 a.m.
BREAKFAST AND REGISTRATION
8:45 a.m. – 9:45 a.m.
PART 1: Requesting Necessary Medical Information
- Making appropriate requests for employee medical information to support short-term and long-term absences
- Requesting medical information necessary to facilitate accommodation in the workplace
- Seeking medical information from employees about psychiatric or psychological disabilities
- Requiring medical certification of fitness for work
9:45 a.m. – 10:30 a.m.
PART 2: Asking the Right Questions and Understanding Health Records
- Best practices for effective communication with medical professionals
- Identifying the types of questions that are most likely to prompt physicians to provide useful information for workplace parties
- Considering whether standardized forms are an effective means of requesting medical information and what questions are appropriate to include in a standardized request form
- How, and when, to request more specific information in response to vague or deficient medical reports
- Tips and strategies for dealing with conflicting medical evidence and opinion
10:30 a.m. – 10:45 a.m.
10:45 a.m. – 12:15 p.m.
INTERACTIVE SESSION 1 Participants will work in small groups to review fact scenarios based on actual case law and develop answers to questions posed. Discussion will be facilitated by workshop leaders.
12:15 p.m. – 1:15 p.m.
1:15 p.m. – 2:00 p.m.
PART 3: Consulting the Appropriate Healthcare Professional
- Determining when a medical report from a family doctor is sufficient for employment purposes
- Identifying when information from a specialist, psychologist or psychiatrist is required
- Requesting an independent medical examination
2:00 p.m. – 2:45 p.m.
PART 4: Handling Medical Information and Protecting Privacy
- Review of legal obligations for employers and unions when handling employee medical information
- Tips and best practices for protecting confidential medical information in the workplace
- Identifying when, if ever, employers and unions can share medical information with one another for the purposes of accommodation
- Understanding when an employee or other affected party has the right to view medical information in the possession of an employer, insurer or union
- Appreciating the rules limiting disclosure of medical information to third-parties
- Review of damage awards for improper disclosure of medical information
2:45 p.m. – 3:00 p.m.
3:00 p.m. – 3:45 p.m.
INTERACTIVE SESSION 2 Participants will work in small groups to review a fact scenario based on actual case law and develop answers to questions posed. Discussion will be facilitated by workshop leaders.
3:45 p.m. – 4:15 p.m.
PART 5: Using Medical Evidence at Arbitration
- Characteristics of persuasive medical evidence at arbitration
- Recognizing what medical information must be disclosed as part of the grievance/arbitration process
- When will an arbitrator order a grievor to submit to an independent medical exam?
4:15 p.m. – 4:30 p.m.
CONCLUSION: Final Remarks & Questions
Session leaders will provide a concise review of important concepts and skills covered during the training session and will take questions from participants.