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I’d like to preface this that work knows that I have a disability. I have heard comments from my boss like “I want whatever your taking” because I was calm and professional in a meeting, in a performance review told me I look like Eeyore too often (my disability is mental health related), and frequently infantilizes me and tells me I couldn’t handle working for another boss.

I have been working from home with little issue for the last 2.5 months. I recently had a test for Covid and the results were negative, but due to someone being close to me without a mask my doctor wanted me to isolate for two weeks. I told my boss this and told her I could furnish her a doctors note if need be. She replied and asked twice, in the same email, why I needed to isolate after getting a negative test, she then said she should have a note for our senior manager and HR.

I felt her questioning was inappropriate and with her history of inappropriate comments I contacted HR and explained the situation and told them about my bosses behavior and that I didn’t feel comfortable giving her more medical information. I sent it to HR and it seemed everything was fine. I had a remote meeting with my boss and at the end I mentioned I sent the letter to HR. She got upset and said she wanted this for her “just in case” for her “back pocket” in case people asked. She told me I opened a whole can of worms (something about someone at work being test for covid scaring people) and she told me not to talk to HR and go directly through her.

Can she tell me not to give information to our HR department and is this something a manager should do? I’m not sure there’s a reason not to talk to HR other than it would make her look bad (which she also voiced as a concern)

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    Why would it matter to your company that you had to self isolate if you have been working from home for the past 2.5 months? – sf02 Jun 9 at 20:43
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    My manager has been there most days and so has some of the rest of her team. They think covid is a hoax and constantly talking shoulder to shoulder. I think our department executive prefers to see people in their seats because that means we’re working (though I can’t verify this). There was also an issue at the start of work from home as they were convinced we’d be back in a week. She told our VP I was reluctant to come in in an email and made a big fuss about me getting a remote laptop (I knew we were going back in a week). – BobSacamano Jun 9 at 20:46
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    "Can she tell me not to give information to our HR department and is this something a manager should do?" Come on. You know the answer to that question. No, a manager is not allowed to say that. But what are you going to do? Make a second HR complaint against her? Just ignore her instructions instead. And document everything. Keep that documentation at home in case you get fired. – Stephan Branczyk Jun 9 at 20:46
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    Yeah, talk to HR about absolutely everything you presented here. – Michael McFarlane Jun 9 at 20:48
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    The country will also be relevant here. – Solar Mike Jun 10 at 4:17
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Can she tell me not to give information to our HR department

Of course she can. She just did. If your question is "is this legal or does this violate a policy" the answer depends a lot on your local laws. Check your employee handbook and contract/offer letter for the applicable policies and company rules.

In the US that would likely be a violation of HIPPA and it would be illegal for your manager to ask for medical information.

and is this something a manager should do?

A manager should behave in compliance with company policies and local laws and regulations. Check those.

I’m not sure there’s a reason not to talk to HR

If you find that this violates local laws and regulation, you should actually talk to HR. In the US this behavior could get the company in real trouble an it's HR's job to ensure compliance and protect the company. They can only do this if they know that there is a problem.

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  • I checked our company polices and it didn't address anything like this. My doctor said they would only send it to me for HIPPA reasons and then I was free to do what I wanted with it. – BobSacamano Jun 10 at 18:42
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Your boss might be more upset that it seemed to them like you deliberately disobeyed their request to furnish them with the doctor's note. I suspect that it would have been better received if you'd pushed back right at the very beginning when the request had been made. It's also possible they felt like you were not forthcoming with this disobedience since you said that you mentioned it at the end of a later meeting.

I'm not condoning your boss's behavior at all, but you might find it helps to better understand why they are upset (even if it is for rather childish reasons).

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  • That could be, she was adamant that the email said to send it to her. It could be interpreted that way and she was insistent that that was what she intended. I took it as she was going to give it to them. I actively didn’t want her to get the note as I wanted it to be in HR where they will maybe be confidential. She was going to call down to HR to talk to them and I have told them about her inappropriate behavior so I would think she is gonna hear about that. We’ll see, I’m incredibly anxious. – BobSacamano Jun 10 at 2:01
  • HR also did call me back and ask if I had been in the office since the exposure. I haven’t but that’s possibly the “can of worms” she thinks I opened. I don’t see how it would worry people if it is HR’s hands though. – BobSacamano Jun 10 at 2:11

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