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No, this is not a violation of HIPAA as it only pertains to confidentiality of medical records. Your employer is not entitled to your wife's confidential medical records under these circumstances. However, your employer is entitled to a note or some proof that your spouse was hospitalized. But, access to medical records are strictly protected by federal law.
Your employer is entitled to know why you weren't at work IF you didn't have the necessary vacation time, etc, or if you claim the time under FMLA....and if it was because of her being in the hospital, you could get something in writing from her treating physician that says she was hospitalized with the dates....and that should be sufficient.
Well, they're not entitled to her medical records or notes.....but if you're using her hospitalization as the reason for your absence from work, the employer is entitled to proof to support your excuse. This would especially be true if you were claiming time away under FMLA.
If you had vacation time, you should be able to claim that time without any explanation (unless your company's policies require otherwise).
But, the employer is not in violation of HIPAA unless it were to request her medical records.
As I said, your employer would be entitled to a note from her doctor that says your wife was hospitalized for the days in question. That should suffice.
You really shouldn't need that -- all you should need is a letter from the doctor's office that says she was hospitalized for the dates in question.
Whether they could do anything depends on your company policies, absence policies, etc. It also depends on whether you have an employment contract or if you're an at-will employee.
I understand your thoughts, but your employer likely isn't really interested in your wife's medical situation......instead, they're wanting proof as to why you missed work -- whatever that reason may be. It just so happens in this instance that it is because your wife was hospitalized.
I understand, and it is certainly a legitimate concern.....Please let me know if you have any additional questions.
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