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Can a company have access to an employee's counselling session notes?

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( 5 months ago )


I know that the so-called anonymous, confidential employee engagement surveys are not anonymousand that HR can ask Gallup or a similar company to cough out an employee's survey response on some pretext.

My company is offering free counseling services for upto 7 sessions for each of workplace problems, parenting problems and two other problem types. So that's a total of 7*4=28 sessions, and we can also get our family members enrolled for these sessions, and they'll get a separate free 28 sessions.
The counseling is done by one of the best companies in the country which outsources their work to professional counselors.
To register on the counseling company's website, we have to use our company email id and once registration is confirmed, we can change it to our personal email id.
The sessions can be held over our personal phone or by going to the counseling company's premises.

I asked the counselor, and she said sessions are confidential and won't be shared with my company unless it is a case of suicide. Also, the information recorded about the session will be retained for 5 years in case it needs to be presented in court (and obviously so that the next counselor can refer it).

So my question here is (if any of you know or could find out from an administrator/owner of a counseling company or your HR), that if a company wanted to know details of an employee's counseling session, would they be able to get it by falsely claiming that the employee has shown signs of suicidal tendencies?

UPDATE: The reason I'm asking is because I don't see why an employer would spend so much money for so many sessions so that the employee and his/her family would get professional counseling from the best in the country. Why would an employer do this if they did not have some means of accessing a certain employee's data?



( 5 months ago )

No matter what the legal facts are, since such a counselling service should be confidential, and would probably not be used much if it wasn't, and a decent company wouldn't try to access these notes, you might talk to HR so that they add some notes to wherever the company informs you about the counselling.

Something along the lines of "The company will not attempt to gain access to any counselling notes, and we believe that the counselling service would not give us any access even if we asked".

Update: Why are they doing this? It looks good. Most people will never take advantage of this offer, so it's not that expensive. But people will think "if I ever need it, this is just excellent". And when people take advantage of it, it pays back for the company big time.

what's your interest