Disability Services at UMass Amherst

Confidentiality and Release of Information

Disability Services is committed to ensuring that all information regarding employees is maintained as confidential as required or permitted by law. Any information collected is used for the benefit of the individual. This information may include biographical history, medical information, performance reviews, and case notes. Guidelines about the treatment of such information have been adopted by Disability Services. These guidelines incorporate relevant state and federal regulations and guidelines established by relevant professional associations.

No one has immediate access to employee files at Disability Services except staff from Disability Services. Any information regarding disability or medical condition gained from medical examinations or appropriate hiring inquiry shall be considered confidential and shall be shared with others within the institution on a need-to-know basis only. Disability-related information is to be treated as medical information is treated. For example, University departments and supervisors do not have a right or a need to access diagnostic or other information regarding the medical condition of an employee; they only need to know what accommodations are necessary or appropriate to meet the individual's medical needs. If an employee has requested an accommodation, the individual will be informed as to what information is being provided to the department or supervisor regarding the request. To protect confidentiality by assuring limited access, all disability-related and medical information must be filed with Disability Services.

Information in files will not be released except in accordance with federal and state laws, which require release in the following circumstances if an employee: states they intend to harm themselves or another person(s); reports or describes any physical abuse, neglect, or sexual abuse of children or vulnerable adults within the last three years (this includes the occurrence of abuse or neglect to the employee if he or she was under age eighteen at the time of the abuse); reports the use of an illegal drug for nonmedical purpose during pregnancy; or reports or describes sexual exploitation by counseling or healthcare professionals.

An employee's file may be released pursuant to a court order or subpoena.

An employee may give written authorization for the release of information when she or he wishes to share it with others. Before giving such authorization, the individual should understand the information being released, the purpose of the release, and to whom the information is being released. Information will not be given without consent unless it is required by federal or state law.

An employee has the right to review his or her own file.