While it may be necessary to disclose some medical information to your employer in certain situations, it is important to do so only to the extent necessary and with the guidance of a qualified healthcare professional or attorney. ~ Robert Reder, Attorney, Blythe Grace PLLC
To help you navigate the delicate balance of transparency and privacy in the workplace, we posed a question to legal and HR professionals. From avoiding sharing job search plans to protecting your medical information, here are seven key insights these experts shared on what you should never disclose to your employer and why.
- Avoid Sharing Job Search Plans
- Keep Education Plans Private
- Beware of Social Media Sharing
- Don’t Divulge Personal Affairs
- Maintain Sensitive Information Confidentiality
- Keep Future Opportunity Plans Private
- Protect Your Medical Information
Avoid Sharing Job Search Plans
It is recommended not to share with your employer that you are actively looking for other opportunities.
As the saying goes, no one is irreplaceable at work. While your employer may try to keep you with various hygiene factors, they would also have a contingency plan to minimize business and operational disruptions. This means they would be confidentially pipelining for your replacement.
Hence, if there are any concerns or unhappiness, it is good to speak with the employer, raise the issue, and work toward a solution first. Otherwise, there might be a risk of losing the job before securing another.
Kaili Loh, Recruitment Manager
Keep Education Plans Private
Using personal legal insight and experience, it’s not advisable to share any plan you might have to go back to school. There are a few reasons for this, including:
- It could pre-determine if it will affect your job. Some people might struggle to balance two things, however, many people can make it work. Don’t give your employer the chance to decide how it will affect you. Just do it, but make sure you keep doing your job at your place of employment.
- Maybe this doesn’t affect your plans at the company. And this is completely fine. But it could change how the employer treats you, fair or unfair.
Keeping education and work experience separate is a choice, and there’s no direct need to mix them. Sometimes, it’s fun to mix the two, but other times, it might affect your position at your job and how your employer sees you.
Beware of Social Media Sharing
Many people believe their social media accounts are set on “private mode,” but their social media accounts are far from private. If your employer found your old personal social media posts, it could be a recipe for disaster.
Many employment contracts contain clauses that state that if any employee acts, encourages, or facilitates any action that damages the reputation of the employer, this may make up gross misconduct. Such a subjective and widely defined clause could provide unnecessary power to your employer.
It’s possible that 15 to 20 years ago, you may have written, shared, or liked an article on social media that is now frowned upon and no longer acceptable in the current climate. Maybe your employer wants to “manage you out,” and old social media posts may provide a helping hand.
In today’s society, your employer will judge your past actions according to current standards—whether you like it or not.
Don’t Divulge Personal Affairs
Sharing personal information with your employer is not prohibited. You can share your age, where you live, how many kids you have, or any other personal information. However, refrain from sharing your extramarital activities with your employer, or any of your colleagues’ extramarital affairs, no matter how close you think you are with your employer.
Most companies have rules against extramarital affairs in the company and it is stipulated in the employee handbook. This information may be used against you and may cause your termination from the company. Aside from that, it may even be used against you legally through a lawsuit. Hence, refrain from sharing this.
Maintain Sensitive Information Confidentiality
Employees should never provide their employers with confidential personal information.
There are various reasons to protect this information:
Confidential personal information can blur the line between personal and professional boundaries. It is crucial to maintain confidentiality and safeguard sensitive information that does not directly affect job performance.
The disclosure of personal information in the workplace may lead to discrimination or bias. Employers should make decisions based on objective factors pertinent to job performance, not personal characteristics or circumstances.
Sharing certain personally identifiable information may violate privacy laws and regulations designed to protect the rights of employees. Keeping personal information confidential facilitates compliance with applicable legal requirements.
Sharing personal information can damage the employer-employee relationship.
Keep Future Opportunity Plans Private
Unveiling the details of your future job plans or entrepreneurial dreams can unleash apprehension and uncertainty within your current workplace. The wisest thing to do? Keep such plans private until the appropriate time, such as formal resignation.
Sharing details about your plans could raise concerns about loyalty, trust, competition, or potential conflicts of interest. Even if your intentions are far from immediate departure, premature disclosure can cast a shadow on your current commitment, tainting perceptions of your performance.
But the consequences extend beyond strained relationships and eroded trust. Unveiling your ambitions can limit your professional-development opportunities within your current organization.
Employers don’t want to invest in someone with one foot out the door. And if you have signed confidentiality agreements, sharing information about your future job plans might violate those agreements and lead to legal consequences.
Protect Your Medical Information
One thing you should never share with your employer is your confidential medical information unless it is directly related to your job and necessary for accommodation or compliance purposes. This includes information about medical conditions, treatments, medications, or mental health.
Employers have a legal obligation to protect the privacy and confidentiality of employee medical information under various laws and regulations, including the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
Sharing your confidential medical information with your employer without a legitimate business reason or without your explicit consent can violate these laws and compromise your privacy and rights.
While it may be necessary to disclose some medical information to your employer in certain situations, it is important to do so only to the extent necessary and with the guidance of a qualified healthcare professional or attorney.