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Thread: Client Medicals

  1. #1

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    Default Client Medicals

    My client asks all contractors to attend a medical before starting a contract. I'm sure this would be a fairly innocuous request for most people but I've just received the forms today from their Occupational Health department and I'm not happy.

    Firstly they want to know if I have a long term health condition. The answer would be yes.

    Next question, they want to know if I've needed time off work in the last 2 years and give details. Again yes, but in the unlikely event I need time off as a contractor then I won't get paid so what's the problem?

    Finally, and bearing in mind I've hit a couple of red flags already, they want me to give consent to releasing medical records and I know that GPs invariably screw up these kind of requests.

    At the end of the form it says above the signature box "I confirm that the information I have given on this questionnaire is true to the best of my knowledge and belief. I acknowledge that any false or misleading information supplied by me or my failure to disclose medical information affecting my employment may lead to the termination of my employment."

    I'm not an employee so I don't see why I have to disclose a disability or my health records. Even if I was a new employee then disclosure is normally my choice.

    Are these medicals common or is there a whiff of inside IR35 about this?

    The only benefit to disclosure normally would be that I can request reasonable adjustments but that would be a very permie thing to do... are there any disabled contractors on here who could give me some insight on that one?

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    What's the nature of the role? Some organisations have exemptions from the norm for specific reasons.

    However, most likely they haven't quite understood that contractors are not employees. You can see this is likely by: my failure to disclose medical information affecting my employment may lead to the termination of my employment

    It's not a whiff of employee. It's a full on nose to the turd stink. You're not an employee. Since you have a vested interest in not filling in this questionnaire, you should push back.
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    They still have a legal requirement to look after anyone on site. If you pass out and have some sort of fit that you have regularly and injure yourself they are on the hook. Health and safety on site doesn't just apply to permies. They have insurances and it's likely to be part of the policy.

    Nothing unreasonable about it.
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    Quote Originally Posted by northernladuk View Post
    They still have a legal requirement to look after anyone on site. If you pass out and have some sort of fit that you have regularly and injure yourself they are on the hook. Health and safety on site doesn't just apply to permies. They have insurances and it's likely to be part of the policy.

    Nothing unreasonable about it.
    I get that, but to enforce release of medical records on threat of termination? I'd at least want to know what they will be doing with my information, how it will be stored, who will have access to it, and how long it will be retained for.

    Mostly, it's 'do you consider yourself to have a disability' and then if you say yes you divulge pertinent details.

    I guess, as NAT alludes to, there's something else here that warrants a deeper delve.

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    Two things...
    1. Is the job going to be somewhere that isn’t a “normal” office - e.g. if something goes wrong, do you need to be able to run fast? Are there other physical/psychological stresses that are maybe higher than most people would be used to?

    2. You’re a contractor. If you aren’t happy to give out particular information, then you need to look for a contract where you are happy to give them the information they want. It’s your business’s choice what b2b contracts they go after.
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    In 20 years of contracting at more than a dozen different clients, I've never been asked to take a medical or provide any medical history. I'd see it as a very strange request indeed.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Amanensia View Post
    In 20 years of contracting at more than a dozen different clients, I've never been asked to take a medical or provide any medical history. I'd see it as a very strange request indeed.
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    Prof Cunning @ Oxford Uni

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    Quote Originally Posted by Amanensia View Post
    In 20 years of contracting at more than a dozen different clients, I've never been asked to take a medical or provide any medical history. I'd see it as a very strange request indeed.
    I’ve been asked medical questions for several clients. Mostly around allergies to particular antidotes that might need to be administered if things go wrong.

    Was on a client site when one of their staff went into a fridge, then discovered a product had leaked. They were hospitalised, taken in with full hazmat gear on the crew and put in isolation. Their next of kin were called immediately. And this was only because there was a risk that they might have come into contact with it, which they hadn’t and after 3 weeks they were released. If they had come into contact with it, best case would have been 3 months in hospital and the rest of their life with brain damage. Otherwise they wouldn’t have left the hospital alive.
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    Quote Originally Posted by WTFH View Post
    I’ve been asked medical questions for several clients. Mostly around allergies to particular antidotes that might need to be administered if things go wrong.

    Was on a client site when one of their staff went into a fridge, then discovered a product had leaked. They were hospitalised, taken in with full hazmat gear on the crew and put in isolation. Their next of kin were called immediately. And this was only because there was a risk that they might have come into contact with it, which they hadn’t and after 3 weeks they were released. If they had come into contact with it, best case would have been 3 months in hospital and the rest of their life with brain damage. Otherwise they wouldn’t have left the hospital alive.
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    NAT, the nature of the work is office based on a list X secure site where there is some manufacturing as well. The agency did say last month that the client conducts drug and alcohol screening but that didn't concern me too much because I would only need to disclose if there is a failed test caused by my meds. I can give the agency a call tomorrow and ask for further information. The agency said they have several thousand contractors who work for the client (mostly outside IR35) so I should be able to find out what the normal course of events would be. Notably the line manager in the form has already been identified as the agency.

    NLUK, I had duty of care thrown at me in my last job and it got ridiculous. They asked me to complete a risk assessment every time I travelled offsite and when I booked train travel a manager asked me if I was going to "throw myself under a train" in a confrontational tone (I'd be interested to know if you think that qualifies as harassment NAT). Based on my experience you are right about the insurance, however I'm the equivalent of a supplier working on premises, I will have my own liability insurance and if I don't disclose they're not liable anyway.

    LM I agree wholeheartedly that questions need to be asked with reference to GDPR. Thanks for reminding me. I'm aware that OH do not ordinarily share detailed medical information with management. They make recommendations such as fit/not fit for work or fit for work provided the following adjustments are in place. But it's all employment law orientated.

    WTFH, the work is office based and I am physically able bodied. Psychologically I cope fine with stress but during mild to moderately high mood episodes I can behave somewhat bizarrely and in an unpredictable way but still get the job done. I've had another look at the contract and the only relevant clause I can see is that I must comply with all health and safety, site and security regulations applicable at the Location(s) to the extent that they apply to the type of work required for the provision of the Services;

    Amanensia, thanks for sharing your experience.


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    Last edited by mb31; 5th December 2019 at 21:14.

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