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Sep 19, 2005

I have recently been diagnosed with HIV. I know the condition qualifies for FML but I find it very difficult to share this information with my employer. My company has a very strict attendance policy and during the period of diagnosis, I missed work. How do I certify my condition and still protect my privacy. By the way, my company removed the responsibility of administering FML from our Occcupational Nurse and moved the function to HR so that the the HR Specialist would not be bound to the same tenets of confidentiality as would the nurse. In this way, members of management can ask, what's wrong with "X" and get the answer.

Response from Ms. Breuer

I think you'll be glad to be corrected on one point: the HR specialist is indeed bound by law to keep your medical information private. You may want to ask the HR specialist about confidentiality and management's access to information in your medical file--in general terms. The answer should be that only qualified HR professionals have access to that information. That stuff about moving the function so that the HR specialist wouldn't be bound by the same tenets of confidentiality sounds to me like a workplace rumor that serves no one.

You can apply for FMLA leave without identifying your diagnosis. The application form asks for the TYPE of medical leave you need, but not for the diagnosis, and you shouldn't supply the diagnosis on the form. Pick up a form from HR and, if you wish, take it to your doc for help in completing it so that the information is accurate but not overly revealing.

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