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State Personnel Management Manual
Advisory Memorandum # 02-04

0400 Affirmative Action
August 30, 2002

TO: Department and Agency Counsel, Personnel, Human Resource, Affirmative Action Officers and ADA Coordinators
FROM: Patricia A. Hite, Director, Law Bureau
SUBJECT: Confidentiality of Medical Information Obtained During the Reasonable Accommodation Process

As you are aware, by Executive Chamber Memorandum dated April 11, 1996, all agencies were advised that they are expected to follow the guidelines set forth in the Procedures for Implementing Reasonable Accommodation in New York State Agencies, in reviewing and processing requests for accommodation under the federal Americans with Disabilities Act and the State Human Rights Law.

In accordance with statutory mandates, and as specified in the guidelines, there are very strict limitations on the use of medical information obtained through the reasonable accommodation process.

Agencies are reminded that while they may request documentation or require a medical examination, to identify an individual's functional limitations to support and evaluate the accommodation request, they must protect and maintain the privacy and confidentiality of medical information provided by, or on behalf of, such individuals. This limitation applies to information obtained from medical examinations or inquiries of such individuals.

In addition, agencies are advised that any medical documentation submitted or obtained may only be used to evaluate the request for accommodation. Documentation obtained during this process cannot be used as a basis for referring an employee for a medical examination to determine fitness for duty pursuant to section 72(1) of the Civil Service Law, or placing the employee on an involuntary leave of absence pursuant to Civil Service Law section 72(5), or for other personnel actions.

Please direct any questions to the Department of Civil Service at (518) 457-6207 or the Office of Advocate for Persons with Disabilities at (518) 473-4609.

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