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Old 27.10.2014, 10:02
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Sick leave and medical check - how to handle it?

Dear fellow members, I am looking for advice regarding my current situation:

After suffering from continuous harassment and discrimination at the workplace from my manager during the past 2 years, I looked for help from Human Resources; however they blamed me for all the issues. I tried internal job moves that were blocked by my manager and also escalated the situation but without any luck. Finally my body collapsed and a doctor wrote me off on medical leave for burn out (100%) and gave me antidepressants.

After being on sick leave for 4 months, I received a letter from my employer warning me that if I continued to be on medical leave they will send me to see a company doctor to have a 2nd opinion on whether I am fit to work or not. On month 5 my employer requested that I make an appointment with a doctor designated by the company. I made the appointment and I have the following questions:

1. The doctor’s secretary told me that I will be examined by two doctors from the hospital, one the appointed one by the company and another who is an assistant doctor at the hospital. Is this legal? And if so, why should I be obliged to see 2 doctors? Also, my doctor told me that if I disagree with the diagnosis of the company doctor I can contest it and request a 3rd medical opinion, but would this still apply if 2 doctors have seen me already?

2. Am I obliged to sign any documents that these doctors ask me to sign? Such as giving them permission to contact the doctors that are providing me treatment or disclosing my health issues or treatment details to my employer?

3. Could I request that these company doctors give me a copy of their assessment on weather I am fit to go back to work or not? Further, could I request that they send this document only to me and that I will forward it to my employer?

4. During month 4, the Human Resources lady contacted the doctor that issued my sick leave certificate and requested to know when I was going back to work. Further, she based the company's request for me to see their company doctor on the fact that I did not allowed my doctor to disclose specific information about my health. Is this legal? Can my company demand to know this information? Is the HR lady allowed to have discussions with my doctor without my authorization? (She contact him at least one more time in the past, also requesting to know about my health, but my doctor did not tell me what his answer was)

5. Should I be careful about any other requests or topics? Could anyone recommend a good lawyer?

Thank you very much for your help!
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Old 27.10.2014, 10:23
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Re: Sick leave and medical check - how to handle it?

They are allowed to send you to their company doctor, yes, and you are obliged to go. The number of company doctors they can send you to see isn't regulated by law, but two I would probably let got. If they send you to a third one, I'd say they're starting to seriously push it and then I would consider alternative steps.

Neither your usual doctor nor the company doctor are allowed to give out any information whatsoever on your current health status - not to your boss, not to HR, not to anyone else. This is a clear case of doctor-patient confidentiality.

What is not unusual, however, is for you to agree that the company doctor may reach out to your usual doctor to discuss your situation. You need to give them authority to do so, otherwise - same as above. But this is just between doctors - the company still has no right to request further information.

As for the other questions - cross that bridge when you come to it. There's no need to think about every possible "what if" situation right now. You do not need a lawyer right now. Go to the doctor, see what happens, then take it from there.
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Old 27.10.2014, 10:37
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Re: Sick leave and medical check - how to handle it?

Thank you for your help
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Old 28.10.2014, 18:23
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Re: Sick leave and medical check - how to handle it?

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They are allowed to send you to their company doctor, yes, and you are obliged to go. The number of company doctors they can send you to see isn't regulated by law, but two I would probably let got. If they send you to a third one, I'd say they're starting to seriously push it and then I would consider alternative steps.
The issue is that the company requested that I see one specific doctor at a hospital, but when I book the appointment the secretary at the hospital told me that 2 doctors will see me the same day as part of the assessment.

I told this to my current doctor and he never seen such a thing before.

I fear that if I see two doctors, then I would loose my right to ask for a 2nd opinion in case they issue a diagnosis that is incorrect in my view (because 2 doctors already saw me). Would this be the case?
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Old 28.10.2014, 18:31
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Re: Sick leave and medical check - how to handle it?

It could be something as simple as one is a junior doctor sitting in to gain experience, it could be that one does some standard tests and the other does an examination interview. It could be that one examines your physical condition and the other considering the reason you are signed off does a psychological exam, the results are then combined to form one opinion.

When you go just ask why you are seeing two doctors or call the hospital back and ask them why, this is probably the best thing to do as anything else will just be a guess on someone elses part.
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Old 27.10.2014, 10:30
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Re: Sick leave and medical check - how to handle it?

You never ever have to sign anything, regardless of the circumstances. It's always your free choice
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Old 27.10.2014, 10:42
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Re: Sick leave and medical check - how to handle it?

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You never ever have to sign anything, regardless of the circumstances. It's always your free choice
And that includes allowing the company doctor to talk with your own doctor abd share information. You will be asked if you will allow this, but you can say no if, for any reason you don't want them to. In most genuine cases I'd think that honesty and openness on all parts should be paramount, so such sharing should only be able to work in your favour, but if you feel otherwise that's fine too.

But by appearing open and honest to all parties including your boss and HR you're much more likely to gain their sympathy and understanding, and hopefully their openness and honesty, in return.
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