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Sick leave...disclosure of reason...what are ny rights?

(8 Posts)
ThisBoyDraculaDrew Sat 24-Oct-09 18:42:20


Under the previous 2 systems we had at work we have had to complete a form on return from sick leave with general stuff...employee number etc, reason for absence.

BUT we could elect to avoid disclosure of reason to our line manager. We had to tell Occupational health but it, if we wished, didn't have to be disclosed to line manager.

Now the system has changed. We now have to fill in a (non official) word document which is sent to departmental administrator who presumably passes on the info.

It is quite possible that i will be having some time off with depression/stress in the next few weeks (have already turned down a 3wk sick note). Whilst I couldn't really care that my administrator knows when I have a chest infection I don't really want her to know that I am being treated for depression. TBH I would rather that i don't have to disclose to anyone...but recognise that legally I probably have to disclose to someone and in any case if I do go down the sick note route rather than self cert then I have no choice.

After that ramble what are my legal rights?

hormonstersnomore Sat 24-Oct-09 20:43:49

When I suffered depression due to a situation at work, my gp reassured me that the sick note for my employer could say anything, for example, 'backache'. The copy she had to send to DWP (DSS) had to show the real reason for my absence but my employer wouldn't see that one. Or her handwriting could be 'illegible' and I could make up my own reason for being off work. Have a word with your doctor who should be sympathetic hopefully, and if he/she recommends you have time off work then you should be able to take it and have time to get better.

flowerybeanbag Sun 25-Oct-09 16:57:33

Details of your sickness are what is called 'sensitive information' under the Data Protection Act, so technically you don't have to tell anyone, no. If your employer pays you more than SSP they may want to know and it may risk your extra pay if you don't tell anyone.

But if you're not happy to tell an administrator you should make that clear to your manager - I'm sure there will often be occasions where people are off sick with something more sensitive than a cold or whatever, so it should be possible to deal with those types of confidential situations appropriately.

ThisBoyDraculaDrew Sun 25-Oct-09 16:57:35


That is useful to know. When I self cert I can always put down one of hte physical symptoms (ie nausea) that I am suffering.

I was just wondering what the legal position is (cos irrespective of my current - direct concern over this) we in general feel that it is on occassions a bit intrusve to have to tell an administrator this sort of info.

flowerybeanbag Sun 25-Oct-09 17:06:15

As I say, the legal position is that you cannot be required to disclose sensitive information like this. But if your employer is paying you more than SSP you may find it's a good idea to tell someone and just ask that it's kept confidential from administrators or whoever else doesn't really need to know.

ThisBoyDraculaDrew Sun 25-Oct-09 17:07:00

timely xpost flowery.

I shall be talking to my line manager this week anyway - so I will raise this.

It is just that we seem to have gone backwards in the sense that we previously had a clear option for that has been taken away - or at least isn't an obvious option.

Still likely to cause probs tho sa administrator is likely to get arsey when I don't return the form/or it is incomplete. I will deal with that though if and when the time comes.

RibenaBerry Sun 25-Oct-09 17:30:52

I am sorry to disagree with hormonsters, but I think it would be deeply ethically wrong for a doctor to put down an illness on a certificate that is not the correct one. As you have hinted at, they sometimes 'fudge' it by putting down a symptom, but that is rather different.

I would also strongly caution against lying. Flowery's advise about a confidential route is (as ever) very good.

Is your stress work related in any way? If so, although I totally see why you would not want to share your diagnosis with an administrator, do think about sharing it with a senior manager whom you trust. Your work can't help if they don't know, and often occ health can be a rather slow route to getting things fixed. They absolutely have their place, but reports, etc are all very formal and sometimes what you need is a manager looking out for you on the ground and cheering your corner.

hormonstersnomore Sun 25-Oct-09 19:14:19

Ribena, my problem was totally work-related & I think that's why my doctor was so sympathetic. The person I had a problem with was my supervisor - she was also my HR manager - in a very small company, so there was literally no-one I could confide in. Perhaps my situation was a one off, I can only say I was extremely grateful to my lovely GP for the support she gave me. Needless to say, once I felt better, I left that job.

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