Confidentiality and consent
In cases involving rehabilitation confidentiality applies. However, the employer may contact healthcare providers with the consent of the co-worker. It is important that both parties aim towards a trustful dialogue during the rehabilitation process.
The employer is not automatically entitled to be informed about the reason of the sick leave, nor the co-worker´s diagnosis or illness. The co-worker has the right to refrain from stating the reason for his/her sick leave.
The employer has a duty of confidentiality in individual cases and must not contact the Swedish Social Insurance Agency, healthcare providers or other bodies without the written consent of the co-worker. The employer should only discuss co-worker rehabilitation with those who are directly involved, for instance managers, HR administrators, the occupational health, union representatives and/or safety representatives.
That being said, the rehabilitation work is often facilitated if the collaboration between a co-worker and the responsible manager is characterised by an open, trusting dialogue. For example, the responsible manager can agree with the co-worker early in the process which health and rehabilitation operators may be contacted if necessary and with written consent. The consent must be posted to and received by the parties concerned before the employer can make contact.
Names or personal data, as well as personal information about a co-worker must never be communicated in external emails due to secrecy. The same applies to internal mails.
Due to secrecy, healthcare providers and the Swedish Social Insurance Agency do not have the right to communicate via email concerning rehabilitation cases or respond to incoming email. These parties should be contacted by telephone when a case involving a co-worker´s sick leave needs to be discussed. The employer can also send an email including its contact information with a request for a telephone call.
Chapter 39, Sections 1-2 of the Public Access to Information and Secrecy Act (2009:400), regulates how secrecy must be applied for the protection of the individual in staff level social activities and in staff administrative operations of the Authority where the co-worker is employed.