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Hi. I work for a Fortune 500 company who contracts a company to handle child support payment distributions. I was out on short term disability for an illness. My exwife called payroll to find out why a child support payment had not been distributed and was told by the person on the phone I had been out on disability for almost 2 months. Doesn't this violate Hipaa privacy and what can be done? I've been divorced 11 years and she has no right to know I was out as she could try to use it against me if we ever have to go back to court.

Lawyer's Assistant: What steps have you taken? Have you filed any papers in family court?

I've done nothing but go to HR to advise them this happened and how upset I was that they gave someone who has no right to why she didn't receive the payment. In 11 years I've never missed a payment and she should not have been given a reason other than general information

Lawyer's Assistant: Family law varies by state. What state are you in?

South Carolina. My ex lives in Kansas

Lawyer's Assistant: Anything else you want the lawyer to know before I connect you?

This is the second time this has happened. A few years ago they gave her even more information and I chalked it up to a mistake and let it go and never reported it.

Submitted: 2 months ago.Category: Family Law
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Answered in 59 minutes by:
5/25/2018
Family Lawyer: fiftyshadesoflaw, Family Law Attorney replied 2 months ago
fiftyshadesoflaw
fiftyshadesoflaw, Family Law Attorney
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 133
Experience: Atttorney at Law Office
Verified

Hello,

I am a licensed attorney and I will try to help you with this information. You wanted to know if your employer violated HIPPA laws by disclosing to your ex wife that you were out on disability and that is why child support was not paid? No, they are not in violation of HIPPA laws for that disclosure, but I understand your confusion and being upset that too much information was released.

Generally HIPAA does not apply to employers simply because they collect employee health information, HIPAA will affect employers in the process of obtaining this information because HIPAA usually applies to the health care entity from which the employer is seeking the information.

Under HIPAA, covered entities (most health care providers, health plans, and health care clearinghouses) may disclose protected patient health information only as permitted.

So here it seems they provided the information is not a violation of HIPPA since they are not covered under that part of the law. I will say that your instinct was right about your employer possibly being liable under some law. Here it seems that based on these facts they may be in violation of the American with Disabilities Act. Since most Employers regularly obtain medical information concerning applicants and employees through a variety of sources, including health insurance forms, workers' compensation reports, leave requests, doctors' notes regarding absences, and general conversation and interaction with applicants and employees this covers those situations. Under another section of the ADA Act.

The ADA requires employers to keep such medical information confidential, subject to certain narrow exceptions.

Under the statute, an employer may disclose such information only to: (i) supervisors and managers if it relates to "necessary restrictions on the work or duties of the employee and necessary accommodations"; (ii) first aid and safety personnel "when appropriate, if the disability might require emergency treatment"; and (iii) government officials investigating compliance with the ADA, upon request.

This is more likely the area that applies. You can also check with a local lawyer to see if their is a similar state law in Kansas that support the federal law. IYou may want to report it this time so that they are training their employees properly so they can be in compliance with this law. I am hopeful your ex will not hold any information such as this against you in the future at a custody proceeding. My goal is to provide you superior customer service, so if you found this helpful please provide me a positive or 5 star rating. That is the only way I get credit for this answer. I wish you the best of luck in your future endeavors.

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