View Full Version : Unintentionally disclosed adhd

05-07-16, 09:27 AM
I was diagnosed with adhd when I was a kid, and have taken meds off and on since then. I have never told anyone about this, aside from my husband. I know I shouldn't be ashamed and embarrassed, but I am, and I am also a private person.

I am now 31, and have been working in a job i love for about 5 years. My work requires that we have a physical exam on file every 2 years. For my first two, I did not have a primary care doctor, so my work set up appointments with the occupational health center in our town. The physical (both times) was very basic, and the form the doc had to fill out asked about health conditions and medications. When asked about these things, I did not talk about ADHD because I thought it would be OK to leave out things that did not affect my work, since that was the whole point of the physical (I realize I should have been honest about the medication, but I reeeeeally didn't want my work to know I took medication for ADHD).

Fast forward to now- my most recent physical was with my family doctor who I have now, who I was completely honest with and who has my medical records. On the form, he wrote ADHD under conditions, and the medication I am taking.

The place I work for isn't that big, and does not have an HR department or anything. The person who took the form, looked at it, and filed it is one of two of my immediate supervisors. I also have one other boss above them, and the three of them work very closely together. I would never intentionally have disclosed this at work, but the physical form seem to have done it for me, which I was a little self-conscious about but figured it would never come up again.

Here is my problem: I just found out that one of my coworkers - who works directly with me all day and has been doing this job for 20 years longer than me- complained to my boss about my chronic disorganization, forgetfulness, and distractibility. And apparently she was not the first to have brought this to their attention. I was surprised- I knew they probably thought I was a little scattered, but I thought I was managing/hiding the problem a little better than that, and I have never told anyone about my ADHD. So now I am set to have a meeting with my supervisors and this coworker to discuss "strategies."

I am very embarrassed and a little worried because of all the stuff I have seen on here about the danger of disclosure, which I never intended to do. Here are my questions, if anyone knows the answers:

1. Is my employer allowed to bring up the ADHD diagnosis on my medical form if I don't say anything about it? For that matter, is my supervisor allowed to tell my higher-up boss about what she saw on the form? I would rather keep that out of it and just focus on the problems and solutions at work. But I am worried they will bring it up and I wondered if legally they even could.

2. Is there any chance I will get in trouble for not being forthcoming on the first two physicals with the occupational health doc? I really did think the question was more about physical health stuff, but I also just did not want them to know.

If anyone has any insight, experience, or advice about this I would so appreciate it!

Thank you!

05-07-16, 02:45 PM
Your doctor flubbed it. He had no right to disclose for you. As far as I know workplaces do not need to know any of your meds or conditions unless you disclose them yourself. I am so sorry! I would be looking in to this further.

Also once the cat is out of the bag you can't put it back sorry

Little Nut
05-07-16, 04:14 PM
Lisa, do you know what "strategies" are to be discussed? Do you have a reason to believe it will be a discussion of your job performance? I think it is bad form to schedule a non-routine meeting with someone to discuss performance issues w/o the person being told what the meeting will be about. Even if is an informal discussion. If you are unsure about what the meeting is about I would try to bottle my anxiety and focus about the normal part of my job until I had the meeting. If that doesn't work, you can ask your boss(?) what types of things will be discussed in the meeting and do you need to prepare.

My experience was from the other side of the table. It is based on guidance from HR types/lawyers and some reading. If you are really concerned about this being a disciplinary/employment type meeting, your State's Law play a major part for the legal answers to your questions in addition to whatever federal laws may be pertinent. I would recommend some internet searching on your end. Also, if your company has published policies /procedures /guidelines on such things they would be very pertinent.

As far as ADHD, do you believe that because of your ADHD, that you are able to perform all of your job duties? Would your Doc think that due to your ADHD that you are able to perform all of your job duties? If the answer is yes, then there is no need to discuss your ADHD and no need to ask for an accommodation. Now if the answer is that you can not perform all of your job duties acceptably, then you have to see if anything needs to be done.

If this helps, it would be hard to prove that you maliciously witheld the fact you have ADHD when you had your Doctor put it on the form w/ your medication that you just submitted when you didn't have to do either. (Be quiet about the part that you didn't intend to reveal it.)

FINAL DISCLAIMER: Pls realize this is not intended as an answer to your legal questions, but is a response to your concerns about possible legal issues. (See I have talked to legal types before)

05-07-16, 05:59 PM
You can definitely ask to not have this info shared with higher ups. That part I know. Does your adhd symptoms actually affect your job performance even though that person is complaining about it?

I'd speak with a disability lawyer with good credentials and experience with ADHD if you even get the slightest feeling they are considering firing you.

It'll only cost you less than $500 (though check with them on price estimate first as it may vary in your area). I guess $500 sounds like a lot but it's not a lot compared to your salary.

05-07-16, 06:19 PM
I know a young man who applied for employment with CPRail. This job requires regular drug tests so this young man decided honesty was the best policy and disclosed his ADHD diagnosis and the fact that he was taking medication for it. The railway hired him under condition that he must take his medication during working hours. The company doctor told the young man that because he was diagnosed and properly medicated, the young man's ADHD was much less of a risk than another employee with ADHD who hadn't been diagnosed or properly medicated.

A few years ago I visited an adult ADHD specialist for a medication review. The psychiatrist shared with me an interesting new development that concerned a patient and a major chartered bank in Canada. The employee was an excellent employee other than the fact that he struggled with being on time for work in the morning. The bank issued a warning and the patient consulted his psychiatrist. The psychiatrist composed a letter informing the bank about his patient's diagnosis, treatment and asked for accommodations based on existing labour law. The bank agreed to allow this valued employee to arrive late for work if he made up the lost time on his own time. This is good news.

05-07-16, 10:42 PM
Thank you all so much for the helpful and well-informed replies- I really appreciate it.

To answer your questions-
I am not really worried that my job is in jeopardy- I have received positive performance reviews for the most part, and have strengths that my employer values, and that are more important to my primary responsibilities than being organized.

I think that the only reason there is going to be a meeting is that it is affecting the team of people I work with (driving them nuts, basically), and has come up several times with different people/different work duties. I think the meeting will probably be low key, and just a "lets see what we can do to help you do better with this" kind of thing.

My worries about it come more from embarrassment than anything else, I think- I am certain I'm not on the verge of getting fired, I just feel worried that what the doctor wrote on the form will come up at this meeting, since these problems that my coworker complained about are directly related to my issues with ADHD, and I'd rather not discuss it with them.

But maybe I'm overthinking it- my supervisors probably would rather not discuss any particular diagnosis either, and and will just want to focus on the issue at hand, too, and it's not like I'm trying to ask for accommodations or anything. And LittleNut- you're right, it would be hard to prove that I withheld information, and anyway, when I think about it, they probably don't even care since it's not like they are trying to fire me or something.

Thanks guys- I feel better about it!

05-08-16, 05:42 AM
The doctor can be fined/sued for breaking confidentiality. The employer also has put themselves in an odd situation by looking at the form without an ROI (release of information) form.

Your work shouldn't have anything on file. Only the care professional should/doc/doc office.

Any claims via insurance should be protected under HIPA.

It is your call on what you would like to do about it. I just think that knowing you are armed with a few legal oversights on their part may be empowering

However your ability to respond is 90 days post incident.

Anyways it depends on if you are in the U. S or not but most countries have regulations in regards to patient confidentiality.

You have the ability to request accommodations if your disorder is held against you. Just fyi

Good luck

05-12-16, 03:47 PM
Ask that someone take minutes for the meeting.

I'd go into the meeting prepared for the possibility that ADD will be brought up, but I'd hesitate to bring it up myself. There's always the possibility that your supervisor didn't read the content of the form, and only ticked a box saying it had been received.

If it does get brought up at the meeting, then he's breeching your confidential health information. The meeting minutes can be used as proof of this and he can get in massive ****.

The way you can redirect things at the meeting if it's brought up is to say "I'm being treated for the ADD and I am receiving support for it on an ongoing basis, so I'm hoping we can focus on the issue at hand and not the label" or something like that. Basically any way you can bring the focus back to finding solutions for the situation and away from the diagnosis.