Do I have to sign a release for my medical records to my HR for them to decide whether to terminate me after FMLA leave is over?

Asked over 2 years ago - Sacramento, CA

I have been off work on fmla/std and have exhausted the 12 weeks leave time. My doctor is not giving the ok to return to work for a few weeks yet. My employer is asking me to sign a release to HR for my medical records as well has having my Dr. fill out a long form. HR will determine under ADA law whether my disability qualifies as a "true" disability to them. This will determine whether they can make an accomodation to my existing job. They have already told me that my job is no longer protected. I have depression. I don't not feel comfortable having HR have access to all of my personal medical records at this point.Won't they likely terminate me whether I do or don't? If I don't sign the release,Can I still qualify for unemploment should I get the ok to work in a few weeks?

Attorney answers (3)

  1. Michael Robert Kirschbaum

    Contributor Level 20


    Lawyers agree

    Answered . You do not have to authorize the release of your medical records but, of course, this will make it very easy for the employer to terminate you as your job is no longer protected.

    If you wish to have an opportunity to remain with the employer, you need to engage in, what we call, an interactive process, which involves communication between you, your health care providers and the employer. The employer needs to understand whether you have a qualified disability and, if you do, what your limitations are so they can determine whether a reasonable accommodation can be provided for those limitations to enable you to perform the essential functions of your job.

    If your medical privacy is more important to you, you have the right to say no and they have the right to say goodbye. You probably will be eligible for unemployment when your doctor releases you to return to work because you lost your job through no fault of your own.

    They say you get what you pay for, and this response is free, so take it for what it is worth. This is my opinion... more
  2. Marilynn Mika Spencer

    Contributor Level 20


    Lawyer agrees

    Answered . In addition to the good advice my colleagues provided, know that you do not have to disclose your entire medical history to your employer. You only need to disclose the medical information related to the condition for which you need additional leave. For example, if your disability is depression, the employer only needs the records related to your diagnosis and limitations from depression. The employer does not need records of your athlete's foot, broken leg, STD, or anything unrelated.

    The interactive process Mr. Kirschbaum mentioned is part of the reasonable accommodation process. A reasonable accommodation may include extended leaves of absence. The employer is required to provide reasonable accommodation for a KNOWN disability. This allows the employer to obtain proof of the disability you want it to reasonably accommodate.

    Please look at my Avvo guide on the ADA: and my Avvo guide to the differences between the ADA and California's more generous FEHA:

    An individual is not entitled to unemployment benefits for any period in which he or she is not able to work due to disability. That would be covered by State Disability Insurance. Both programs are administered through the Employment Development Department.

    *** All legal actions have time limits, called statutes of limitation. If you miss the deadline for filing your... more
  3. Emanuel Soleiman Shirazi


    Contributor Level 10

    Answered . I would add that depending on how many employees your company has (question implies it has enough because leave is given), the company has a duty to provide you with a reasonable accommodation (if not an undue burden) which may include additional time off beyond the 12 weeks of leave you exhausted.

    This is not legal advice and does not create an attorney-client relationship.

Can't find what you're looking for? Ask a Lawyer

Get free answers from experienced attorneys.


Ask now

26,665 answers this week

2,811 attorneys answering

Ask a Lawyer

Get answers from top-rated lawyers.

  • It's FREE
  • It's easy
  • It's anonymous

26,665 answers this week

2,811 attorneys answering