Confidentiality: It’s the Law
Revealing of mental health conditions or treatment
As an employer, you must only share workers’ compensation claim information with people who are authorized.
Examples of people you can communicate with about the claim are:
- The worker or their representative.
- Your authorized representatives.
- Medical providers treating or examining the worker.
- Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor(s) who are providing services on the claim.
- Authorized L&I personnel.
Release of mental health conditions or treatment
The employer is subject to a civil penalty of $1,000 per occurrence for revealing claim file information about mental health conditions or treatment to anyone besides authorized representatives.
Example 1: An employer sends an electronic correspondence to three people unauthorized to receive claim information. The correspondence shares a worker’s mental health condition from the claim file. Since the information was sent through one electronic correspondence, the employer will be charged for one occurrence.
Example 2: One of the unauthorized people in Example 1 forwarded the electronic correspondence to an unauthorized person the next morning. Later that afternoon, that same person sent an additional correspondence to another unauthorized person. Since the unauthorized person sent the mental health information to other unauthorized people on two separate occasions, the employer will be charged for two additional occurrences.
Example 3: On three separate occasions an authorized representative verbally shares mental health information from a worker’s claim file with three different unauthorized people. Since the information was shared in three separate conversations, the employer will be charged for three occurrences.
All complaints from the worker regarding this violation must be investigated to determine if the employer or their authorized representative violated RCW 51.28.070.