What are privacy rights under the ADA?

I’m disabled and my employer  told others about my disability. Can he do that? I thought I had rights under the disability act, and I did not want others to know.

Posted 05-27-2014

Ann Kiernan replies:

You are right. Under the Americans with Disabilities Act, employers must keep employee medical information in separate, confidential files, and release that information only to supervisors and managers, who may be told about any necessary restrictions on the duties of the employee and any reasonable accommodations; and to first aid and safety personnel, who may be informed, when appropriate, if the disability might require emergency treatment or if the employee would need assistance in the event of an emergency evacuation.

Information here is correct at the time it is posted. Case decisions cited here may be reversed. Please do not rely on this information without consulting an attorney first.


About the Author:

Ann Kiernan has litigated claims of wrongful discharge and discrimination before state and federal courts and administrative matters before the New Jersey Division on Civil Rights, the National Labor Relations Board and the Equal Opportunity Employment Commission, representing both employers and employees. Ms. Kiernan co-hosted The Employee Rights Forum, a weekly radio call-in show reaching up to a half-million listeners in the New York metropolitan area, and her articles on employment law have been published in many books and magazines. Both as a firm partner and as a director, Ms. Kiernan gained solid experience in management and human resources compliance. She has worked with Fair Measures since 1997.