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Privacy and your employer (1/3) - Privacy and illness

What is your boss allowed to know about you?

We are discovering more and more how many people and organizations know more about us than we thought. So we keep protecting our data more and more. Because privacy also plays a very important role in the workplace, says De Unie this week this week extensively. Because what is your employer actually allowed to know about you, and what can you say: "None of your business"? Today: privacy and (long-term) illness.

When you are sick, it is important to communicate openly and clearly with your employer. After all, your colleagues must know that you are not at your desk, and how long that will take (approximately). But does that immediately mean that you have to share all personal, medical information with your supervisor?

What is my employer allowed to know about my illness?

Your employer may collect the following information about your health situation:

  • your (temporary) telephone number and residence address;
  • how long you are expected to be absent;
  • what current appointments and tasks you have at work;
  • whether you became ill due to an industrial accident;
  • whether you are sick due to a traffic accident for which someone else is liable.

In principle, your employer may not register other data, not even with your permission. Employees may feel compelled to share information because of their relationship with their boss. There is one case in which your employer may record and share other data, but only with your permission: if your colleagues need to know what to do in an emergency. For example, if you have epilepsy or diabetes, this can be great for you and your colleagues.

What can the company doctor or occupational health and safety service share with my employer?

When you report sick, your employer can engage a company doctor to assess whether you are incapacitated for work. This doctor may - just like your own doctor - view your medical data if you give permission and has a professional confidentiality. As a result, your company doctor is hardly allowed to share anything, not even with your employer or case manager at the reintegration agency.

What information your employer may receive? Only the information necessary to make a decision about continued payment of wages, absenteeism counseling or reintegration. For this, the following information is required:

  • the work that you can no longer perform;
  • the work you can still do;
  • the expected duration of your absence;
  • your degree of incapacity for work;
  • possible reintegration advice, for example about adjustments, work facilities or mediation.

And what is the company doctor absolutely not allowed to share? Well, among others:

  • diagnosis, name of the disease, specific complaints and pain indications;
  • your own observations about your health status;
  • information about therapies or appointments from doctors, physiotherapists and psychologists;
  • other information, for example about relationship problems.

And a case manager, what is he allowed to know about my illness?

A case manager is appointed by your employer to manage your reintegration. Usually, this person is not authorized to view your medical file. Is not necessary at all, because the global step-by-step plan and the advice of the company doctor are often enough.

There is one exception: the task delegation case manager. He or she is authorized to view your medical data, because this works for the company doctor via an 'extended arm construction'. As a result, this case manager also has medical professional confidentiality, and is therefore - just like the company doctor - not allowed to share anything. Moreover, the 'directing' case manager and the task delegation case manager may not be the same person: in this way, the tasks and the right to inspect are strictly separated.


A quick overview of what your employer can ask of you and what not? Contact the specialists of De Unie. Call or email us on 0345 851 963 or

This article is part of our privacy series. We will publish another part on Thursday and Monday. So would you like to know more about privacy, your employer and the information that you can keep to yourself? follow De Unie!