Maintaining employee medical examination records as separate, confidential
medical records is a fundamental change from the practices in most
workplaces. This appears to preempt directly the OSHA requirement that
medical information from preemployment evaluations be maintained with the
occupational medical record. The employer and its agents have only limited
access to such information:
supervisors and managers may be informed regarding necessary
restrictions on the work or duties of the employee and necessary
first aid and safety personnel may be informed, when appropriate, if the
disability might require emergency treatment;
government officials investigating compliance with this Act shall be
provided relevant information on request.
State workers’ compensation laws are not preempted by the ADA.
Consequently, employers or other covered entities may submit information to
state workers’ compensation offices or second injury funds in accordance with
state workers’ compensation laws without violating this part.
These restrictions also apply to routine medical examinations of employees
made in the regular course of their employment, which creates a dilemma for
employers who process employee medical examination data through their
personnel department. The intent of the ADA is to deny information about
disabilities to persons involved in employee hiring and retention. This would
seem to require that the occupational medicine department, or the examining
physician, maintain and disperse this information in accordance with
restrictions in the ADA and its regulations.