Background checks and applying for jobs
Jan 14, 2005
This is the second time I have asked this question (but got no answer the first time). I moved to New York State earlier this year from Massachusetts and am looking for a full-time, permanent job. Can a potential employer find out my HIV status or what medications I take, etc. (via my medical history) during a background check? I know that HIPPA is in place to protect this information and I read the consent forms allowing them to do a background check on me when applying for a job and it does not mention health information at all, but, I'm still suspicious. Is this something I need to worry about? Is there any way that they can get the information that I am HIV+ or any of my health information (without me giving them written consent to do so)? Please let me know, I'm very anxious about this and am having a problem finding a full-time, permanent job (which I never have before in my life) and it is making me start to worry and wonder. Thank you.
Response from Ms. Breuer
Difficulty in finding a job could certainly arouse your suspicions, but your medical history is not easy to obtain for a prospective employer--yet. (Be vigilant as this Congress begins to chip away at privacy protections, and get ready to email your congressperson, often and clearly!) A background check will reveal convictions, bankruptcies, that sort of thing, but not your HIV status. The only way they can learn your status is through you telling them.
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