The UWV (Employee Insurance Agency) requested a reintegration company to help Mr. A. in finding a new job. The reintegration company found him a fire-fighter job at a fire safety and security company, G4S. After more than a year into Mr. A’s employment, he was declared 80–100% unfit for work. Mr. A. was of the opinion that the reintegration company and the UWV have acted wrongfully by allowing him to reintegrate as a fire-fighter, even though they knew the work would be too heavy for him. So Mr. A. sued both the company and the UWV. Both the district court and the court of appeal ruled that the reintegration company and the UWV should pay jointly Mr. A. a compensation of EUR 400,000.  

Then a dispute has arisen between the reintegration company and G4S. The reintegration company asserted that G4S should have paid a termination fee to A., which would be deducted from the compensation that the reintegration company had been condemned by the courts to pay Mr. A. In these proceedings, to which Mr. A was not a party, the reintegration company demanded copies of certain medical documents concerning Mr. A. which had been kept on file by G4S’s occupational physician.

The Court of Amsterdam was of the opinion that in principle the reintegration company has legitimate interest in obtaining the medical documents. It weighed the interests in the obligation to surrender certain documents, on the one hand, against the doctor–patient confidentiality of the occupational physician, on the other hand, under the terms of Section 12 Dutch Data Protection Act. The Court stated furthermore that the Act does not preclude the provision of medical documents by definition. Despite the fact that it concerns confidential medical information, there could be an obligation to provide those documents if this need is outweighed by the public interest involved.

In these proceedings, the interest of the reintegration company is its pursuit of paying less compensation to Mr. A if certain medical documents are presented. According to the Court, this interest does not outweigh the respect for Mr. A.’s privacy, partly because the reintegration company could have demanded that the documents be submitted in the legal proceedings against Mr. A. Since the reintegration company did not sue Mr. A and the latter is not a party to these legal proceedings, he has not been given the opportunity to invoke his right to privacy. Therefore, the Court held that G4S does not have to submit Mr. A.’s medical documents to the reintegration company.

Source: Court of Amsterdam 5 February 2013, ECLI:NL:RBROT:2013:CA1942