An employee does not wish to disclose her illness. 9 weeks of certificates stating, “unfit for work” have been received. Can a company doctor disclose the illness to the employer or can we insist on knowing the nature of the illness or move to dismissal or some other action?

Posted in : First Tuesday Q&A NI on 8 January 2013
Arthur Cox
Arthur Cox
Issues covered:

Under the Access to Personal Files and Medical Reports (NI) Order 1991 (the Order) an employer cannot request a report from an employee’s own doctor without the employee’s consent, which should be recorded in writing. While referring an employee to a company doctor (which we assume to be the case here), should fall outside the scope of this Order, the employee should still be asked to consent to a referral. It would be worth checking what, if any, provision for consent is contained in this employee’s contract of employment or company handbook for such a referral, including consent to the processing of sensitive personal data under data protection principles. This may allow the employer to

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Back to Q&A's This article is correct at 02/09/2015

The information in this article is provided as part of Legal-Island's Employment Law Hub. We regret we are not able to respond to requests for specific legal or HR queries and recommend that professional advice is obtained before relying on information supplied anywhere within this article.

Arthur Cox
Arthur Cox

The main content of this article was provided by Arthur Cox. Contact telephone number is +44 28 9026 2673 or email

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