Can an Employee be Forced to Take a Mental Evaluation?
The answer will depend on al lthe facts involved and any union contract terms that may apply, but generally, an employer may ask the employeee to submit to a mental evaluation if done to prove fitness for work and not discriminatory reasons. The employee must consent to have the records released. A waiver or release gives up a right, such as releasing one from his/her liability for harm or damage that may occur from performing under a contract, or participating in an activity. An employee may waive the right to privacy of medicial records by putting thier health in issue, such as by filing a legal claim.
HIPAA doesn't always protect medical information. If the person who disclosed your information was not a doctor, hospital, pharmacy or a person working for your health plan, HIPAA would probably not apply. When relevant to a lawsuit, arbitration or other claim when you have first raised your medical history, condition or treatment as an issue in the case, medical records may be accessed. By a patient putting his or her physical condition "at issue" in a lawsuit, the law presumes that the patient has waived all confidentiality regarding his or her medical condition, and there is an implied authorization to the patient's doctor for disclosure of all relevant information and medical records.
For further discussion, please see:
http://www.aele.org/law/Digests/empl165.html#A - PSYCHOLOGICAL SCREENING OF
http://www.aele.org/law/Digests/empl165.html#K - USE OF OR DISCLOSURE OF THE RESULTS AND