Does a prospective employer know if I was on disability previously

Question

Due to a medical condition, I am considering going on short-term disability. If I change jobs, can my current employer tell a prospective employer about my leave of abscence, and, if yes, how much are they allowed to disclose? For example, can they say that it was medical leave, and are they allowed to say that they think this medical condition will impact my future job performance? I work in NY. Thanks for your help.

Answer

Given how often people and companies sue each other over unpredictable outcomes, most employers now will only verify how long you worked there and in what position when another prospective employer calls. Most often, they refuse to answer specific questions about such issues as use of leave time, medical condition and the like. Now that HIPAA is in force, they're even more cautious about medical information.

If you need the short term leave, I encourage you to allow your health and health prospects to be the determining factor. If the highly unlikely happens and you're asked about a previous medical leave in a new employment interview, explain that the situation is resolved, smile, and be silent.