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LADYLAWYER
LADYLAWYER, Lawyer
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A couple of weeks ago I had asked my boss for help getting

Customer Question

A couple of weeks ago I had asked my boss for help getting treatment for my depression. My insurance doesn't cover it because its a pre-existing condition. My supervisor just happened to be in the room when I was talking to my boss. A couple of days ago my supervisor had a meeting with my co-worker and direct supervisor (about me, apparently). After the meeting my co-worker told me that my supervisor told her that I had depression, I was going to group therapy and that I was trying to get medication for it. I was instantly upset.

Yesterday I sat down with my supervisor and I told her that I did not like this behavior and I didn't feel it was appropriate. She responded by telling me that since my co-worker is my direct supervisor she "needs to be in the loop" and she needs to know anything that will affect my job. I believe that the whole thing is wrong and the information that was shared was confidential.
Submitted: 5 years ago.
Category: Legal
Expert:  JPEsq replied 5 years ago.

I can see why you are upset. But I also see why your employer did what they did. Under the American's with Disabilities Act (ADA), an employer has to make reasonable accomodations to an employee that has a qualified illness.

 

Depression can be an illness under the ADA. Your employer was probably just trying to let co-worker know, so that they can give you the space you might need because of your depression.

 

In any event... its not illegal. But you could let your employer know that you would appreciate it if they didnt share this information again.

Customer: replied 5 years ago.
The thing is that becaus I have shared this information, there are people that are treating me differently. Mostly my supervisor giving me speical "trainings". I didn't know talking about thoughts and feelings counted as a a training. I don't want to be treated differently than any other employee at the facility! And what about HIPAA?
Expert:  JPEsq replied 5 years ago.

HIPAA doesnt apply, because you are the one that told your employer. You went to your work, and asked for special treatment (help getting treatment)- it wont be held against the employer now).

 

I understand your complaints, but the cat is out of the bag... All you can do now is try to control the damage. Like I said, I don't see anything illegal; unwise and sort of uncouthe, yes. If the employer starts discussing your medical issues with other employees, you might be able to make out some sort of claim. But I would ask them to stop telling people, and move on.

 

 

 

 

Customer: replied 5 years ago.
I don't want to make a claim. I just want advice on what to do next! I have already talked to my supervisor and asked her not to do it, but she seems to feel like she is justified in what she did. Do I talk to my boss? Or just go to HR?
Expert:  LADYLAWYER replied 5 years ago.

Hi,

 

I would have a sit-down with your boss and any of your supervisors that now know about what is going on. Since your boss already knows about the issue, you won't have to let even more people in on everything by going through HR. Because you have been treated for this previously, and if it affects one or more major areas of your life, you are likley a covered individual under the ADA. This is also a medical condition. I agree with your previous expert that HIPAA does not apply here, but your employer is walking a thin line here regarding invasion of privacy issues. They can probably get away with telling anyone in your direct up link of management, but not other employees or managers. It sounds like you have a pretty nice boss, so hopefully, he/she will take care of this right away. Also, on a side note, this has helped a couple people in my extended family that have been battling depression: http://altmedicine.about.com/cs/herbsvitaminsad/a/5HTP.htm My best to you and I hope you start to feel better soon!

LADYLAWYER, Lawyer
Category: Legal
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Expert:  LADYLAWYER replied 5 years ago.
Thank you so much for the bonus and your kind words. As an attorney, I can't really play doctor on here, but I can tell you that for my family members, absolutely nothing had worked for them until they tried this. One of their doctor's was on board, the other wasn't, but both of them were greatly helped by the 5-HTP. It is at least worth discussing this with your doctor. A visit to an alternative practitioner may also be in order. Take care!

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