Bill Description: H427 protects the medical privacy of individuals with certain exceptions.
Analyst Note: H427 is one of several pieces of legislation introduced during the November meeting of the 2021 session to address the issue of vaccine mandates in Idaho.
Does it violate the spirit or the letter of either the U.S. Constitution or the Idaho Constitution? Examples include restrictions on speech, public assembly, the press, privacy, private property, or firearms. Conversely, does it restore or uphold the protections guaranteed in the U.S. Constitution or the Idaho Constitution?
H427 creates Section 44-204, Idaho Code, to protect individual medical privacy with certain exceptions. The language states, "An employee has a right to confidentiality and privacy concerning his personal medical information." It goes on to say, "No employee shall be required to disclose personal medical information to his employer..."
Unfortunately, what follows is an "unless" and a major exception that allows employers to violate medical privacy under specific conditions.
Specifically, such violations are allowed if "the information is necessary for the employer to determine whether the employee can perform the essential requirements of his position" and "at the time of or immediately before the hiring of the employee, the employer identifies the specific personal medical information to be disclosed and the employee agrees to the release of such personal medical information."
Concerningly, there is no definition of or limitation on what an employer might claim is a link between seeking an individual's private medical information and an "essential requirement" of the position in question.
The bill is still a net positive, but it would be improved significantly by the deletion of the exception.