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Allen M., Esq.
Allen M., Esq., Employment Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 19168
Experience:  Employment/Labor Law Litigation
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I work in a call center for a large insurance company. There

Customer Question

I work in a call center for a large insurance company. There are 3 "lines" of coverage that we are trained for. One of those, Medical Underwriting, assists callers who visit our website for employees who have made a short or long term disability claim. I work from home due to an illness and am on intermittent FMLA. Many others work from home as a reward for doing a good job. My employer announced Friday that the company is now going to give those call center workers who handle the medical underwriting website to access employee information, which includes our SSNs and what sort of "disability" we are on. I do not want my co-workers knowing that I am on FMLA. According to one of the people who developed this new "benefit", all that has to be done for one of the call center workers to access my personal information is to type in my name. Of course, there would be consequences if they are caught "misusing" the information. We who are on disability do not have to utilize the website and can continue to report our disability time to a separate service - but our information will still be available on the website to any of my co-workers who want to access it. I cannot opt out, nor will I be told when someone accesses my private info.
JA: Because employment law varies from place to place, can you tell me what state this is in?
Customer: I work from home in Missouri - the office I work out of is in Kansas. The company home office is in Connecticut.
JA: Have you talked to a lawyer yet?
Customer: No.
JA: Anything else you think the lawyer should know?
Customer: I tried to talk to my manager about it. He accused me of not showing trust in the company. He also told me I could not change anything.
Submitted: 10 months ago.
Category: Employment Law
Expert:  Allen M., Esq. replied 10 months ago.

Thank you for trusting your question to JA today. I am a licensed attorney with over a decade of law practice and over 20 years of experience in the legal field. I’m happy to be of assistance.

Unfortunately, he is correct. The rule concerning this issue is not very proactive, instead relying on reactive responses. You can't preemptively stop them from doing so. You can't opt out. All you can do is rely on the fact (and I know this doesn't give you much security) that if the employer's failure to more fully secure the information results in a release, they subject themselves to legal liability.

This the problem with law though. It is reactive and until something has happened, you have no avenue to change this issue. There is no forum to take a preemptive action, because a court can only hear cases that are "ripe."

I wish I could you differently here, but your choices are to either continue to work within this system or seek employment elsewhere.

If you have any further questions, please let me know. I invite follow up questions, so use REPLY for those. If you have no further questions then good luck going forward and please do not forget to rate my service with a top-three rating so that I receive credit for working with you today. Please rate me based on my service and not on your satisfaction with the law, which I am not in control of and I am just reporting to you. Also, feel free to request me in the future, if you have questions concerning a different matter.

Expert:  Allen M., Esq. replied 10 months ago.

Hello, I wanted to check in and make sure that there was not any additional information that you required after the response I previously provided to you. If you need further assistance, please use REPLY and ask me for any additional information you may need. If not, take care and have a great day.