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Is this even legal? (employment)

I was filling out an application for Coca-Cola for an IT position. It asks me for my SSN, 7 year resident record, 7 year driving record, etc, etc.  All on a non-SSL site I might add (which is why my SSN was "avl-on-rqst").

Anyway, got to the end, and this is part of the agreement to submit the app:

"I authorize without liability an investigation of all information in this application. I expressly waive all provisions of law prohibiting any physician, person, hospital or other institution that has or may hereafter attend or furnish me with treatment from disclosing to the Company any knowledge or information thereby acquired."

That has or may hereafter furnish me with treatment? On an application? I don't think I'll be submitting it without contacting a lawyer, but what do you all think. Is that kind of thing even legal to do? Do you all have statements like that?

Anon because my employer reads this too
Tuesday, June 01, 2004

All that leaves me to again wonder about the rumors of Coca-Cola's CIA dealings...

Greg Hurlman
Tuesday, June 01, 2004

Coca Cola is in trouble at the top.  So it's not surprising the head doesn't know what the ass is doing.  The mgmt team can't get on the same wave length with regard to succession of their CEO.

...
Tuesday, June 01, 2004

Ask them why they need this information, and let the ACLU know, at http://www.aclu.org.


Wednesday, June 02, 2004

"I authorise THE FIRM to kill me and my family at any time, now or hereafter, as the need arises."

Clearly my ridiculous statement above carries no legal weight, right? Well it is the same with Coca Cola's statement. A company can not change the laws just by getting you to sign something. Well, maybe they can in some jurisdictions. If that is the case for you, move quickly to a new location!

Herr Herr
Wednesday, June 02, 2004

Mr Herr, I fear you have limited exposure to the marvels of our various legal systems.

One day some poor chap will get shafted from Coca Cola when their routine check of medical databases reveals that his latest medical has shown he has a genetic predisposition to some horrible disease that might become a drain on the company's insurance policy. So they sack him.

When he complains, they explain in a patronising fashion that he gave his complete "agreement" to this state of affairs.


Wednesday, June 02, 2004

mmm...it depends how your local law covers the disclosure of medical information.  In the UK you have to give your doctor permission to disclose - and the equivilant section tends to be written in exactly those terms. 

a cynic writes...
Wednesday, June 02, 2004

In the UK (and I can't imagine it would be any different in the US, but IANAL) you can't sign away your statutory rights. That means that it's impossible to "give up" a right that is enshrined in law. This is true across all types of law, including employment law.

But I think I can see a problem. The law probably says something along the lines of "Medical bodies can't disclose confidential details about patients to their employers unless the patient has consented to the disclosure". I wonder whether the clause you posted is intended as a sort of catch-all "you gave your consent by signing this" clause. They might argue that by signing the form you effectively provided consent for all future medical disclosures. Probably wouldn't stand up in court, but they've got a lot of lawyers.

Like I said, IANAL. Let us know what you said, if you take it up with them.

Adrian
Wednesday, June 02, 2004

Damn. Meant to say "Let us know what THEY said, if you take it up with them."

Adrian
Wednesday, June 02, 2004


Off-topic: why do we say IANAL? Isn't it better to assume people as NOT lawyers until stated. IAAL?

A Dingo Ate My Baby
Wednesday, June 02, 2004

With HIPA in place in the US it is my understanding that you have to give the doctor permission to talk to anyone about you unless they have a court order. Where I work we frequently request medical documents of our insured (only after they have been in an accident) and they have to tell their doctor to release the specific information we need to us. (Where life gets confusing is in our responsibility to maintain that information.) Now HIPA also results in your health insurance company having a very narrow view of your medical treatments. They are not supposed to be sent lab results or in the case of mental health anything more then a DSM-IV diagnosis. I assume these rights to privacy may degrade with cheeper health insurance where the cheeper it gets the more they have to approve for you and the less personal options you have.

With the exception of mandated notes for psychoanalysts (many such doctors have not kept notes in order to limit their liability) I think HIPA might cover many of your concerns. Now if your application came with release forms for all your doctors I would run quickly.

Jeff
Wednesday, June 02, 2004

Why always IANAL? Why is nobody saying YANAD?

Karel Thönissen (www.garabit.nl)
Wednesday, June 02, 2004

Because it's too much to ask for?

Adrian
Wednesday, June 02, 2004


This sounds almost like a textbook definition of an adhesion contract.

Like Herr Herr said, just because you sign it, doesn't mean you just invalidated standing law.

Who knows...employment and privacy laws are Byzantine and even the best lawyers will be scratching their heads with all of the exemptions for this and for that.

Frenchie
Wednesday, June 02, 2004

These are pretty standard these days in the US.  Firms are scared stiff of hiring someone who was the featured guest on "America's Most Wanted" (which happened once at a company I worked at -- he had kidnapped his children to keep them away from his then-wife).

I don't know any way around it -- you can try saying "I'll sign this at a face-to-face interview, but not before" and see what happens.  I certainly wouldn't agree to it over an unsecured web page where you've not even gotten a chance to speak to an HR person.


Wednesday, June 02, 2004

It sounds normal. I've signed a few documents like that. The purpose is so the company can do a medical check and background check. They're screening you for drugs, etc. As said, companies are normally prohibited from accessing your medical information. You have to sign a waiver for them to access it.

If you don't want to sign it, don't But you may be prohibited from pursuing a job with that company.

I experienced it with companies that do government contract work.

DaveF
Wednesday, June 02, 2004

I emailed them through their web site, and their HR manager called me this morning. She said that about 80% of their applicants are for positions involving company vehicles or machinery, and for both types a full medical and drug test history is required. She apologized for the confusion, and said that I would not be required to submit to that if my job did not entail the use of vehicles or machinery.

Thanks everyone for the comments though!

Anon because my employer reads this too
Wednesday, June 02, 2004

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