Sunday, October 17, 2021

Does HIPAA Protect You from an Interviewer or Employer Asking You Health Questions?

Image of two people in a job interview
A job interview

HIPAA is the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act. Since 1996 it prevents the release of your protected health information to unauthorized persons without your permission. It also requires that your physician’s office provide you with printed information about how your healthcare information is used and protected from unauthorized access. (That’s the sheet of closely typed information you probably don’t read during check-in, just sign that you received it.)
HIPAA does NOT prevent interviewers or employers from directly asking you health-related questions, including your COVID vaccination status. HIPAA does NOT prevent you from answering such questions. And HIPAA does NOT prevent interviewers, employers, or businesses such as restaurants or movie theaters from asking you to provide proof of COVID vaccination.
However, you do NOT need to respond to these questions or requests. If you consider them nosy or inappropriate, you can certainly say so and refuse to answer. Of course, then the person who asked you may make their own assumptions about your health or vaccination status.
It is not illegal for anyone to ask these questions, and it is your choice to answer or not answer.

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