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Law Educator, Esq.
Law Educator, Esq., Attorney
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 88678
Experience:  20+ Years of Employment Law Experience
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If I call out sick, and say Im not feeling well, its personal,”

Customer Question

If I call out sick, and say “I’m not feeling well, it’s personal,” am I protected under the HIPAA laws?
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Employment Law
Expert:  Lady Themis replied 3 years ago.

Thank you for your question.

 

Employers are only covered under the HIPAA laws if they are a covered entity under the law, generally only if they have a health clinic operation available to employees or provide a self-insured health plan to employees.

 

 

Customer: replied 3 years ago.
I do not belong to their insurance plan; I’m not a chronic individual who calls out sick. My question, can they ask the reason why I’m calling out?
Expert:  Lady Themis replied 3 years ago.

Yes, an employer can ask an employee why he/she will not be reporting to work.

 

 

Customer: replied 3 years ago.

I did tell the supervisor that I was sick, and didn’t feel well. Do I need to elaborate?

Expert:  Lady Themis replied 3 years ago.
No, although as part of the employer's policy, you can be required to provide a doctor's note for your absence.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
Relist: Other.
I already knew the answer, there was nothing concrete in the answer.
Expert:  Law Educator, Esq. replied 3 years ago.
No, an employer is not an insurer or a medical care provider to you and in that respect HIPAA does not protect you with the employer. In fact, if the employer insists on proof of your illness more than "I'm sick and its personal" they can make the employee produce that information (which they would have to keep in a confidential file and would be bound then under the state confidentiality of medical records laws only for the actual medical documentation not to release that information except to other employees who have a legitimate business reason to know the information). Just the fact an employee tells the employer "I'm sick" would not be protected under either HIPAA or the state confidentiality laws.

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Customer: replied 3 years ago.
My last Question, and I appreciate your time, and I will compensate.

Under NYS/US privacy “laws” must I give my employer specifics of my illness, "I have a cold, etc.?

Please note, I am not a chronic abuser of using my sick time privilege, but I am concerned when my employer uses unethical tactics to terminate vocal employees.
Expert:  Law Educator, Esq. replied 3 years ago.
Yes, your employer can require more than even that, they can require a note from the doctor with your diagnosis and the prognosis of your illness to document the proper use of the sick time. Not saying you would, but so many employees lie about being sick that the courts allow the employer the right to get detailed information of an illness as proof.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
I’m retired NYPD & stubborn, and I give you my word last question. Is this a NY law, statute, requirement?

My ignorance, I thought that it was my right to keep my illness personal. If that is not the case, it’s a shame.

I do agree with the consequence of sick time abuse, but standards must be set to protect the employee.
Expert:  Law Educator, Esq. replied 3 years ago.
This has all been developed through case law over the years involving the Americans with Disabilities Act and the only reason I even brought up the NY law is because when HIPAA does not apply to employee medical records with an employer, the state law addresses just the fact that the employer must keep them confidential but that law does not address what information they can demand. (by the way, retired New Orleans Police here and I know about being stubborn...).
Law Educator, Esq., Attorney
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 88678
Experience: 20+ Years of Employment Law Experience
Law Educator, Esq. and 6 other Employment Law Specialists are ready to help you

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