Can an employer release mymedical information without consent?

UPDATED: Jul 28, 2011

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Can an employer release mymedical information without consent?

I was employed for 16 months through an employment agency. I was assigned clerical work at a contract company. After my skills were proven, the contract company offered me a permanent position, upon successful completion of a background check and frug screen. The background check was fine, however, I failed the frugscreen for THC use. The HR department of the offering company rescinded the offer and I was terminated from that employer. The contracting employment agency was notified of this and has since terminated me from their agency, as well. I had filed for unemployment, UE benefits ceased.

Asked on July 28, 2011 New York


MD, Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

First of all, you were employed by an employment agency. If you were not paid as a W2 employee, then the following I will get into will definitely not apply and you may have to consider other issues like traditional rights of privacy and HIPAA violations. If you were a W2 employee of the employment agency and you were undergoing background checks by the hiring company (which was a customer of the employment agency), you were not an employee yet of the hiring company and you may not have been an active W2 employee of the employment agency if you were not working anywhere else while undergoing the background check and drug screen. This may actually help you. Check the documents you signed to get the background check and drug screen and see if it mentions anywhere before your signature line that you agree that the results could be shared with other entities. Now, if the HR department saw a positive result (and you are not denying the positive result), the hiring company had every right to rescind the offer (you were not yet an employee of the hiring company). Now you need to find out through any documents you signed with the hiring company and with the employment agency whether there is a provision that is customer of the employment agency wishes to hire a contract worker that any information obtained from a drug screen or background check must or should or shall be shared with the employment agency.  If there is such a provision and you signed those relevant documents, you may not really have a case.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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