Invasive questions during orientation

  1. I just got hired onto a med/surg floor. During our hospital's orientation we were asked to fill out tons of forms. On the employee health form were questions such as Are you pregnant? How many children do you have? Have you ever been hospitalized, when and why. Do you smoke - how many packs, how long? Have you ever filed a workman's comp claim. Have you or anyone in your family have a substance abuse problem. Have you or anyone in your family suffered depression...etc I have nothing to hide but I felt the questions were invasive. Does any one know if it is even legal to ask such questions?
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    About shavsha

    Joined: Aug '00; Posts: 70; Likes: 7
    med/surg staff nurse


  3. by   P_RN
    Sounds awful. I know in hiring interviews you can't ask most of those. I'll wait for better advice from others.
    edited: Look at this site. Some of your concerns are answered here.

    Last edit by P_RN on Aug 1, '01
  4. by   MollyJ
    Where's Feistynurse or NRSKaren when ya need 'em? If these two don't post to this question, I'd email 'em directly.

    I would be asking a lot of questions about that form. Who gets it? What is it's purpose? I have a medical care provider, thank you.
  5. by   Zee_RN
    I am not an expert but I believe, if they are employee health forms, it is legal to ask AFTER you have been hired. They would not be allowed to ask such questions PRIOR to hiring you. However, I would wait for an expert to come along. It has been many years since I did Human Resources stuff.
  6. by   CraigB-RN
    Those are commone question on emplyee health forms. I've been asked those questions in every job I've worked over the past 10+ years or so.

    They only ask those kind of questions after your hired.
  7. by   mustangsheba
    These questions are an invasion of privacy without question and it is illegal to ask them prior to hiring. I don't know the law following being hired, but I can tell you how I would answer them. Sounds like OASIS questions.
  8. by   oramar
    You have to be careful of answering stuff like that. It can come back to haunt you. Once I particapated in a so called voluntary confidential survey. The info was not supposed to be avaliable to management. In my next evaluation my manager started to bring up some of the info. I almost died of embarrassment. I complained but I had no proof she said the stuff so it was my word against hers. It was supposed to be a personality test that they were just considering using as a hiring tool. At another job interview they gave me a personality test and when I started to read the questions I remembered that experience and refused. I do not blame you for being suspicious. Someday you could be running for an office or managment positions and get indications that it some one was holding something against you and wonder what it might be.
  9. by   RNed
    I'm not saying my actions are right. However, I too have filled out many forms which I thought were rather invasion, not just in the hiring or hospital setting.

    I always look at the bottom and see if there is language and a required signature stating the above is true and correct to the best of my knowledge. If such a statement and signature is not required, I do not necessary provide all information nor do I believe I am required to provide correct information.
    I never identify race, ethicity, origin, etc.

    Just my little way of messing with the system.
  10. by   Enright
    I agree that you should be suspicious. Yes, they can ask questions with a wide sweep post-hiring but I still play it close to the vest.

    At one nursing job, the orientation was particularly badly organized. When we got our evaluation forms to fill out they were supposed to be confidential....after we handed them in and left I had to go back to the room to get a book. I found all 3 orienting staff writing our names on the forms we had handed in! And the supposedly anonymous information came up in my first performance eval!

    Since then I disclose on a need to know basis.
  11. by   Sharon

    I work in the HR department. The questions are quite common after hiring. It is always up to you what you answer. But never lie because it can later be used to terminate for falsification of information. You can leave a question blank or state refuse to answer. Since I do not know where you specifically work, if you are in a high-risk position, one that requires a security clearance, you do not have the opportunity to not answer. (Leaving questions blank or refusing will effect your ability to get a clearance.)

    You really should tract on which type of forms you are putting the information. Always make a copy before turning in. Are they occupational health forms, which should comply under some of the following standards and regulations?

    From the Case Management Society of America
    AAOHN/ACOEM Joint Statement on Confidentiality
    U.S. Department of Health

    Or are they life insurance, malpractice insurance, or bonding forms that will impact continued employment? If they are life insurance forms they will be submitted to a national database.
  12. by   canoehead
    OK, here's the dirt, I lie on those forms.
    I lie like a rug.
    If they find out that the supposedly "confidential information" like medical history is incorrect then I might lose my job, but then again I can sue their asses for looking into my confidential records. So I figure I'll win either way.

    Questions like pregnancy- they can't fire you just because you are pregnant, or disabled, if they do you got them over a barrel.

    Ask lots of questions about who gets the info and what they do to keep it confidential, ask for a written policy on their answers. If you really are pissed off at a question make them work for it. Give them hell in front of your coworkers, saying you expect to have decisions made based on your performance not your personal life.

    You get the idea.
    I have certainly made a few coworkers want to duck under the table, but have also had some good conversations started when I start asking questions. Have also had a good giggle when people don't expect to be challenged and they don't have any idea how to respond. (Only stayed at that job for a year though)

    Admin will do what they can get away with, so set some limits.
  13. by   Mijourney
    Hi. I agree with previous posters. The only time I've ever answered these questions is during an employee physical with a physician or NP after hire.
  14. by   -jt
    <On the employee health form were questions such as Are you pregnant? How many children do you have?>

    Its illegal for employers to ask personal questions at employment interviews. It looks like after they hired you, they are trying to ascertain the risk you pose to costing them for health benefits. You can get more info on what is allowed & what your rights are from the lawyers at the employment law website over on

    Thats what they are there for.
    Good luck