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SYDNEY Breton Bay Nursing Home in Sydney is refusing to allow some employees to return to work unless they disclose confidential information between themselves and their doctor.

The union representing workers at Breton Bay says some employees have been denied access to the workplace for refusing to sign a form giving the employer the right to solicit medical information from their family doctor. The employees had been out on sick leave and presented the employer with doctors certificates when they were well enough to return to work.

Shannex is asking employees to sign a form that not only violates the collective agreement, it violates confidentiality between doctors and their patients, says Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) national rep Jacquie Bramwell. We are advising our members not to sign away their right to privacy, but to follow their collective agreement which states they may be required to produce a medical certificate.

These employees have followed their collective agreement, and have every right to return to work.

Bramwell says the union has filed grievances on behalf of the employees but that it could take months for their cases to be heard. In the meantime, she says, the employees have no choice but to apply for employment insurance benefits or go on welfare.

This is a very unusual case when employees are ready, willing and able to return to work and the employer refuses access, says Bramwell. We dont know yet whether EI will approve their claims as they have jobs, they just dont have access to them.

The employer has shown absolutely no compassion for these peoples individual circumstances, nor for the financial hardships they are now facing.

For more information contact Jacquie Bramwell at (902) 539-4933 or (902) 565-9736 (cell).