The employee medical file is the repository for everything that has to do with health, health benefits, employee health-related leave, and benefits selections and coverage for the employee. Because the medical file contains sensitive and confidential information, it must reside in a safe, locked, inaccessible location. Access to employee medical files is restricted to Human Resources staff.
The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) requires employers to protect employee medical records as confidential; medical records should be stored separately and apart from other business records. Never store employee medical records in the employee’s general personnel file. Because of the confidentiality of the information, records must be isolated from files that employees such as supervisors may access.
Contents of the Employee Medical File
These are the types of items that should be stored in the employee’s medical file.
- Health insurance application forms
- Life insurance application forms
- Applications for any other employee benefit that might require medical information
- Requests for paid or unpaid medical leaves of absence
- Family Medical and Leave Act (FMLA) reports and related paperwork
- Physician’s examinations, notes, correspondence, and recommendations
- Medically-related excuses for absenteeism or tardiness
- Medical job restrictions
- Accident and injury reports, including OSHA-required documents
- Workers' compensation reports of injury or illness
- Any other form or document that contains private medical information about an employee.
Additional documents related to personnel files are available.
Disclaimer – Please Note:
Susan Heathfield makes every effort to offer accurate, common-sense, ethical Human Resources management, employer, and workplace advice both on this website, and linked to from this website, but she is not an attorney, and the content on the site, while authoritative, is not guaranteed for accuracy and legality, and is not to be construed as legal advice.
The site has a world-wide audience and employment laws and regulations vary from state to state and country to country, so the site cannot be definitive on all of them for your workplace. When in doubt, always seek legal counsel or assistance from State, Federal, or International governmental resources, to make certain your legal interpretation and decisions are correct. The information on this site is for guidance, ideas, and assistance only.