15

I work at a small (dozen or so employees) web dev agency in UK. I have been asked to fill in an employee data form, which includes the usual emergency contact, and also a medical section which asks for what medication I'm on.

Unfortunatley due to past problems with opiate addiction, I'm on methadone maintainance. I would really like to avoid disclosing this to my employer.

Should I fill in every medication I'm on and exclude methadone, refuse to fill this section out, or another option?

For further context, I have other medical issues (Crohn's) and they've been very supportive about that, and they've made it very clear I'm a valued employee.

  • 4
    It's also true in the UK. You don't need to disclose any medical records unless you are asking your employer to make an accommodation for you. – Matthew Barber Apr 16 at 0:22
  • @MatthewBarber so is this company doing something... Illegal? In asking such medical information to OP? – DarkCygnus Apr 16 at 0:57
  • I don't think it's illegal to ask. You just don't have to share any details that you don't want them to know. As others have suggested, it's probably just there for the benefit of those using medicines that may affect emergency treatment, such as steroids. – Matthew Barber Apr 16 at 1:37
  • 5
    This is just an emergency form, it's nothing! Absolutely no need to mention methadone. – Fattie Apr 16 at 11:41
  • 14
    Lots of comments and answers along the lines of "the employer is trying to prepare for notifying first responders in a medical emergency." Regardless of whether or not that's legitimate, it's worth mentioning that if you are on medication that first responders would need to know about, it's probably better to take personal responsibility for that (wear dog tags or a medical ID bracelet). If I was on a medication that had serious first aid implications, there's no way I'd involve my employer in being responsible for knowing or relaying that appropriately. – dwizum Apr 16 at 14:04
14

Many people, myself included, would applaud you for beating opiate addiction. Unfortunately, as you are aware, many people aren't understanding. They just see you as a time bomb waiting to turn into a relapsed addict. Disclosing this can lead to being let go, being watched more closely than others, and if it gets out, being blacklisted. Don't do it. If I understand correctly you are not obligated to disclose this so you are protected in that regard if it does come out later.

Also ask yourself, Why does my employer need this? The only even slight possible reason they could have for legitimately needing this is in the exceedingly slim chance that there is an emergency that requires life-saving intervention and they need to be concerned with drug interactions.

What makes you not disclosing it different from every other employer I have ever had who don't have any medical history on me or any of their employees? Don't risk a high chance of discrimination for a infinitesimally small risk that you will be unconsciously administered a dangerous drug interaction. Furthermore, as pointed out in a comment by @dwizum, you can take responsibility for informing first responders with a bracelet or dogtag designed for such.

Do not indicate that you are refusing to fill it in as that only raises suspicion that you are indeed hiding something.

1

The way I interpret why they're asking is for emergency purposes. If you, for instance, get hit by a car outside work and are unconscious, they want to be able to tell a medical professional that you're on X, Y, Z medication in case there are complications with what a hospital would give you.

In my opinion, unless Methadone has some serious complications with other medications, I would not include it unless you're comfortable with at least a few people in the HR department knowing. They're not supposed to tell anyone about it and it would likely be highly illegal for them to tell people, but they still might do it.

  • As an addition to this answer, in order to know if Methadone could have complications it would be a good idea to consult a medic, and not just assume it doesn't have any counter-indications. – DarkCygnus Apr 16 at 1:17
  • 3
    a very quick Google search indicates that Methadone does in fact have some fairly serious interactions, which is not surprising as it is a Narcotic. – bruglesco Apr 16 at 1:42
1

I would not tell them. It is none of their business.

Also the form is just a snapshot. In an emergency would this info be available or up to date?

I guess not

0

Here in Australia Methadone is well known and comes with a very negative stigma.

If something like this was disclosed it would raise major red flags.

I would assume disclosing this to your employer is voluntary. Definitely neglect to mention it.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.