Does an employer’s request for vaccination status from an employee violate HIPAA laws? The short answer is “no”. The acronym “HIPAA” represents the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996, a portion of which protects the privacy of a person’s individually identifiable health information from being shared without the person’s knowledge or consent and covers only specific health-related entities.
Under HIPAA, an employer is not prevented from “asking” for the information but would be prohibited from “sharing” the information without the individual’s consent. As a caution, employers asking for vaccination status information should use caution as to what they ask and how they ask it. The employer should request proof of COVID-19 vaccination, and avoid getting into any discussion with the employee of why the employee may or may not have that proof.
Any documentation provided to the employer by the employee to prove vaccination status is considered to be medical information and as such must be kept confidential. The employer must maintain strict control of the proof documents and keep them as confidential as any other health information. The employer must control access to the proof documents and limit their use.
An employer that keeps the inquiry simple and maintains the employee’s documents in a safe and confidential manner should be in compliance with HIPAA laws as they now stand.
Revolution Law Group is located in Greensboro, NC, and serves individuals and small businesses throughout the Triad and surrounding areas. To contact us please visit Revolution.law or call 336-333-7907.
The information included here is for informational purposes only, is not exhaustive of all considerations when creating documents, is not intended to be legal advice, and should not be relied upon for that purpose. We strongly recommend you consult with an attorney and do not attempt to create your own documents.