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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 50148
Experience:  Qualified Employment Solicitor
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I have been off work sick past few wks suffering from

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I have been off work sick for the past few wks suffering from pregnancy sickness. I have been providing my employer with sick notes detailing this. My boss knows I'm pregnant & obviously HR do as they process my sick notes. A couple of weeks ago I noticed my job is being advertised at external agencies as an interim/maternity cover role.
Apart from my sick notes I haven't officially declared I am pregnant (I'm only 12wks currently) to my work so how are they able to advertise my role so soon? Some of my colleagues have seen the adverts and are now offering their congratulations on my pregnancy even though I didn't want people finding out yet. I feel my employer has exposed my situation without consulting me. What can I do about this?
Hello, my name is***** am a solicitor on this site and it is my pleasure to assist you with your question today. How long have you worked there for?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
I have worked with the company since October 2007. I have been in my current role 4 years
Whilst I understand your disappointment, the employer has not done anything unlawful here. There is no law which states they must keep this information confidential until a specific amount of time has passed. Obviously if you had specifically asked them to keep it confidential and they had breached that promise and gone ahead and disclosed it, you could have a case. However, in this case you have not mentioned that a specific request for confidentiality was made. The employer is entitled to seek cover for when you go off whenever they want so they have done nothing wrong in advertising for a maternity cover. It is unfortunate that as a result your pregnancy has been made more public than you had anticipated but the employer’s actions are not in breach of any laws. None of that stops you from raising a complaint with the employer internally, for example through a grievance. However, legally you cannot take any further action so it is down to the internal complaint. I'm sorry if this is not necessarily the answer you were hoping for, however I do have a duty to be honest and explain the law as it actually stands. This does mean delivering bad news from time to time. I hope you understand and would be happy to provide any further clarification if needed. If you are still satisfied with the level of service you have received I would be grateful if you could please take a second to leave a positive rating by selecting 3, 4 or 5 starts at the top of the page. Thank you
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Thank you for your reply. I understand what you are saying with regards ***** ***** law.
I did ask my boss not to tell anyone but didn't mention this to HR as automatically believed they were obliged to keep my employment/medical history confidential, are you telling me that this is not the case?. If they can openly advertise my role surely this means anyone's medical information can be accessed by anyone in the company?
The employer does indeed have a duty to keep your medical or personal information confidential but that does not mean they cannot disclose it to anyone in the company. Of course, the general workforce would not be able to see it but certain managers or HR could see it as it may be relevant to their jobs, such as HR who are planning on providing cover. That does not mean that your full medical history will be disclosed though, for example they could just tell HR that they have a pregnant employee and to arrange cover, it does not mean your medical history has been disclosed in detail or been seen by others. Hope this clarifies a bit more?
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