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Can Employers ask the reason for a doctors appointment?

(8 Posts)
wallababy Tue 27-Sep-11 09:35:08

Just basically the above......Have a feeling a colleague is being picked on, she is pregnant and having hip/pelvis problems - manager has now started asking for the reason of her doctors appointments, is this legal? surely its private?
Appreciate any advice form those in the know..........

GlaikitFizzog Tue 27-Sep-11 09:39:59

I would say no they shouldn't be asking. If they require proof she can bring in an appointment card, but it has feck all to do with them. Unless they are asking out of genuine concern and if there may be H&S issues with her having the hip problems.

FWIW I was treated really badly when I had SPD because my boss "Never had anything like that" when she was pregnant.

banana87 Tue 27-Sep-11 09:42:11

No, they can't. And they also can't ask for proof of the appointment. This happened to me years ago when I was being picked on/bullied at work and I called my GP and told her and she said they CANNOT divulge any info like that to employers.

RamblingRosa Tue 27-Sep-11 09:46:19

Definitely not. I would advise your friend to speak to her union rep for back up if she has one and/or call Maternity Action helpline for advice.

meditrina Tue 27-Sep-11 09:51:31

According to the direct.gov website, employers can ask for proof of appointments. It is legal.

Employers are also under a legal obligation to examine the H&S of a pregnant woman in the workplace. This cannot be done adequately without asking a catch-all question about any medical issues which may require special consideration. So it's not illegal to ask, per se, and I would hope all responsible employers are carrying out proper H&S checks. But the employee can decline to answer (but then cannot make a claim if her non-disclosure is relevant in an event during the pregnancy).

What is illegal is harassing an employee; persistent enquiries about health which are not relevant to H&S or other clearly justifiable reason, would fall into that category.

IrmaLittleteapot Tue 27-Sep-11 09:54:37

They can't ask the reason but can ask for proof of the appointment. Usually an appointment card is fine because it doesn't say what the appointment is for.

However, if a condition is pregnancy related we document that in a different way at work to make sure employees aren't penalised and we don't get in trouble for pregnancy/maternity discrimination - so that may be why boss is asking.

We ignore pregnancy related absence when appraising and selecting for redundancy. If your colleague's hip problems are being recorded incorrectly (ie not pregnancy related) then she could find she doesn't get those benefits. There's also the issue of pay. You are entitled to full pay for time off for antenatal care but there is no entitlement to pay for ordinary medical appointments.

IrmaLittleteapot Tue 27-Sep-11 09:56:42

Sorry they can ask the reason but employee can decline to say. Declining to provide proof can lead to unauthorised absence action.

flowery Tue 27-Sep-11 11:37:14

What Irma said. Nothing wrong with asking, she can decline to say but if she wants the protection she gets from it being pg-related and might need adjustments in terms of H&S it would seem sensible to tell them. Any reason she doesn't want to?

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