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Joseph, Lawyer
Category: California Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 5299
Experience:  Extensive experience representing employees and management
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I was terminated from my employment of 26 yrs for "HIPPA" violation.

Customer Question

I was terminated from my employment of 26 yrs for "HIPPA" violation. Never had any record of misconduct and has been "model employee". My evaluation shows "exceeds" expectations on most categories. I was called to an investigative meeting on 7/2012 for accessing family members chart. During the meeting I was asked if I knew what the meeting was about, and since my manager told me prior to what it was about, I told them the truth and that I had scheduled appts for my kids, bypassing the proper procedure, which i occasionally do for patients. so after being honest and told them the truth, they said that, records show i access my daughther-in-law chart on 4/2012, being on for a total of 42 seconds. i explained to them that she had called me to schedule an appt for her, but told her to call the main number because i was with another pt. she didnt have her medical number with her, and asked me to retrieved it for her, and so I looked it up and gave it to her. My union rep asked them if they did a complete check of any access to other household member and they said yes, and only that incident with my daughter in law showed. so i addmitted to something they knew nothing about. so an email was sent to me indicating the investigation has concluded and follow up meeting about a week after. i was told that, "because i was honest, and I said it won't happen again, they said a 3 day suspension would be appropriate. my union rep, disagreed stating how they came to that conclusion, for a 42 seconds access of a chart, as there are wirst violators who just got written warning. The dept director was not present, so my union rep asked to reschedule the meeting until all party's would be present. So another meeting was scheduled and it was just to discuss how they came to decide the 3 day suspension. But instead, they came back stating "after further investigation", it indicates I had access more family members chart, which they said was my son and daughter. I had already admitted that in the very first meeting that they said "didn't show", and proceeded to explain again about booking their appts. They already knew this information when they decided to suspend now, they scheduled another follow up meeting in regards XXXXX XXXXX new information they received. That follow up meeting was when I got terminated. states its a violation to access family members medical record unless its business related. I was fired on Aug. 10, 2012, for accessing my daughters chart on 1/20/12, and my sons chart on 3/12/12. I told them that I scheduled an appt for them to see their doctor on those days. The days it indicates access, it shows my kids did have an appt. my intent was not malaise and didn't cause any harm to the company. I'm currently in step 3, grievance process. My union rep stated she's handle other cases where employees are looking at family members chart history and labs, with them being given a final letter of warning. I feel my termination was too harsh for what I did. I'm even denied unemployment. That was the only job I've worked my entire life, and feel so depressed why they did that to me. My first "incident" of 26 yrs with them. :(
Submitted: 4 years ago.
Category: California Employment Law
Expert:  Joseph replied 4 years ago.
Hello and welcome to JustAnswer.

I'm sorry to hear about your situation and hope I can help.

What question do you have regarding your situation?
Customer: replied 4 years ago.
I feel that I was wrongfully terminated. Do I have to continue with union grievance before I consult with a private lawyer?
Expert:  Joseph replied 4 years ago.
Yes, you should continue with the union grievance procedure before you consult with a private attorney.

Do you believe that you were discriminated against due to a protected characteristic (such as age (over 40), race, gender, national origin, or ethnicity)?