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What is best practice regarding confidentiality?

When a member of staff discloses their M.E., they may – or may not – want you to share this information with other colleagues.

Disabled people have the right to insist that their illness remains confidential. The Data Protection Act says employers must ensure confidential and appropriate handling of sensitive personal data, which includes information about a person’s health.

This means that information about a person’s M.E. should not be shared with any other person, inside or outside the organisation, without the prior, expressed consent of the person with M.E.

Some colleagues may need to know about any adjustments to hours, work practices or environment that are agreed. However, they do not need to know the precise medical reason why.

Having a documented sickness policy can help to set out clearly what is to be expected in these circumstances.

Any information you intend to share should be agreed in advance with the employee concerned.