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2012 I was terminated for not disclosing a parent's medical diagnosis to the employer for FMLA. Is this grounds for suit?

Houston, TX |

A letter from the Doctor was provided which was ask from H.R. the Company Attorney stated the information (e.g. diagnosis, dates diagnosed, Physican who diagnosed patient) was required by the Federal Government. More important, I know that medical information is protected by HIPPA law and choose not to disclose such information. Please advise.

Attorney Answers 3

  1. Best answer

    I am a California attorney and cannot give legal advice in your state. My comments are information only, based on federal law and general legal principles. YOUR STATE MAY HAVE ITS OWN LAWS THAT OFFER SIMILAR OR GREATER PROTECTION. If I mention your state’s laws, it only means I did a quick Internet search and found something that looked relevant. You MUST check with an attorney licensed in your state to learn your rights.

    It sounds like you tried to take FMLA to care for one of your parents, and when you turned in the paperwork, you were told you had to provide more information: the diagnosis, date of the diagnosis, and name of the physician who made the diagnosis. And the company's attorney told you the federal government requires this information. You declined to give that information and the employer fired you.

    If this is what happened, then I urge you to speak with one or more experienced employment law attorneys with whom you can discuss the details. First, a diagnosis is definitely NOT required for FMLA. In fact, the employer is prohibited from asking for a diagnosis. All the doctor has to certify is that he or she is treating your parent for a "serious medical condition." However, your employer is entitled to know the name of the doctor and the date the serious medical condition started and is expected to end.

    Please look at my Avvo guide on the Family and Medical Leave Act, 29 U.S.C. section 2101 et seq. (FMLA):

    You can find a plaintiffs employment attorney on the National Employment Lawyers Association (NELA) web site NELA is the largest and most influential bar association in the country for attorneys representing working people. You can search by location and practice area. Also, NELA has affiliates in every state and many cities which are listed on the NELA site. Not all NELA attorneys are named on the web site or affiliate site. This should not influence your selection; attorneys can choose whether or not to purchase a listing in the national directory, and each affiliate has its own rules for listing.

    I hope you can resolve your situation and wish you the best. *** All legal actions have time limits, called statutes of limitation. If you miss the deadline for filing your claim, you will lose the opportunity to pursue your case. Please consult with an experienced employment attorney as soon as possible to better preserve your rights. *** Marilynn Mika Spencer provides information on Avvo as a service to the public, primarily when general information may be of assistance. Avvo is not an appropriate forum for an in-depth response or a detailed analysis. These comments are for information only and should not be considered legal advice. Legal advice must pertain to specific, detailed facts. No attorney-client relationship is created based on this information exchange. *** Marilynn Mika Spencer is licensed to practice law before all state and federal courts in California, and can appear before administrative agencies throughout the country. She is eligible to represent clients in other states on a pro hac vice basis. ***

  2. This all sounds a bit odd and I think we need more context. What do you do that your parents medical issues are relevant? Except in very limited circumstances your genetic history should not matter and you may have a GINA issue here. That being said, lying on employment records is also grounds for termination.
    Please provide more information about your job and when/how you failed to disclose information.

  3. It sounds like you took FMLA leave to take care of the parent. The employer has a right to a certain amount of information to determine whether the FMLA request is legitimate. That can include certain medical information about the person receiving your care.

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