Respect and professionalism are paramount for the hard-working folks of New Jersey. For a workplace to be healthy and fulfilling, there must be an assumption of good faith between an employer and an employee. You deserve an employer who believes in your desire to work and perform your job well.
Illness and medical information can be sensitive topics in the workforce, and some illnesses are even protected by law. Especially for folks with chronic illnesses, navigating how much information to give an employer can be complicated and confusing.
Disclosing a Medical Condition to an Employer
Multiple sclerosis, cancer, HIV, and mental illness are only a few of the medical conditions that can feel life-defining to some professionals and laborers, but they’re not. No one, not even your employer, has an implicit right to your medical information.
Some illnesses, like HIV/AIDS, cancer, borderline personality disorder, and other mental illnesses, are generally stigmatized in the workplace. For this reason, you may choose not to disclose those illnesses to your employer. It’s also possible that you prefer to keep your health information and data private, which is also your right.
In New Jersey, the law states that employees do not need to communicate their disabilities or medical conditions to their employers, provided that they can perform their jobs’ essential functions without medical leave or accommodations.
Unfortunately, if you need medical leave or other accommodations, you must inform your employer so that you can take care of your health while remaining employed.
When can your employer ask about your medical condition?
Generally, potential employers cannot ask you about a medical condition before they hire you. After an employer hires you, they are allowed to ask questions about medical conditions in the following situations:
- When you ask for accommodations for your medical condition
- After hiring an employee but before that employee starts working, as long as every new employee is asked the same questions
- When the employer is soliciting health information for an affirmative action program, in which case you are not required to answer the question if you don’t want to
Regardless of your reason for sick days, you have rights when it comes to disclosing illness to employers. If your employer is asking you questions about your medical condition outside of the specific circumstances specified above, you must contact a lawyer immediately.
Is your employer allowed to question you if you call in sick?
You may feel resistant to giving your employer unnecessary information if they question you about your illness. Unfortunately, when it comes to disclosing illness to bosses, your managers are technically allowed to question you when you call in sick. They are also legally able to write you up for not showing up at work.
Contact NJ Employment Lawyers Today
Your illness, disability, or other medical condition does not define you. Likewise, you may be entitled to privacy regarding temporary medical conditions such as a cold, the flu, a rash, a virus, a bacterial infection, or other illnesses.
If you believe your employer is violating your privacy by asking questions or digging for answers they are not entitled to, you have the right to protect both your employment and your privacy. The best way to do this is to contact a dedicated employment law professional as soon as possible.
At NJ Employment Lawyers, our experienced attorneys will help you ensure that your employer respects your privacy and livelihood, regardless of your health status. Contact NJ Employment Lawyers today for a free consultation.