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Marsha411JD, Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 20357
Experience:  Licensed Attorney with 29 yrs. exp in Employment Law
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I work for a large company. Recently, there was a medical out

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I work for a large company. Recently, there was a medical out break of TB and most employees were tested. I tested positive. I contacted my manager/VP and told her my situation that I needed to get further test. I had the further test and I was clear to return to work. I know she had to contact HR and report what I told here. However, there was a broadcast to the entire building I work in basically stating "one person in building 7 tested positive" and that I was not hazard to anyone. This note really made me feel violated. I was not even given the curtsey of this letter coming out. Question: Even though my name was not on the report, but still specific to one person. Have my rights been violated?

Thank you for the information and your question and I am sorry to read about your situation. Unfortunately though, there was no violation of HIPAA or any privacy laws in what you described. In fact, because of the public health safety issues related to TB and other similar diseases, the employer was under a duty to inform the employees of the general status of the disease spread or outbreak. Sometimes, public health and safety interests outweigh privacy issues. In this case though, since your name was not released, there wouldn't have been an issue even if this was not a public health issue. This would be a similar situation to when an employer is allowed to describe in their posted workers' compensation reports that a specific accident/injury and lost days despite the fact that workers may be able to narrow down who the employee was.

You might though want to go to HR, which should have been the initial reporting official for you anyway, and make sure that they understand your concern and will give you some reassurance that your name will not be released in the workplace in connection with the TB report to the employees.

Please let me know if you need any clarification. I would be glad to assist you further if I can.
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