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Law Educator, Esq.
Law Educator, Esq., Attorney
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 116732
Experience:  JA Mentor -Attorney Labor/employment, corporate, sports law, admiralty/maritime and civil rights law
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breach of confidentiality by human resource

Customer Question

i have recently discussed with my human resource personnell that i was wxpecting a child i had asked them not to tell anyone including my manager a week later my manger ask me if i were pregnant the only person who knew was human resource what can i do to ensure this issue doesnt happen again. they say there is a open door policy and everything that is discussed with be confidential their is no union please help what are my rights
Submitted: 4 years ago.
Category: Legal
Expert:  Law Educator, Esq. replied 4 years ago.
Thank you for your question. I look forward to working with you to provide you the information you are seeking.

If they have an open door policy and they have a written policy that everything will be confidential then you have a right to sue the employer for breach of their duty of confidentiality for breaching that policy. However, outside of the employer having such a policy, by state and federal law there is no imposed duty of privacy/confidentiality on the employer.

The employer is not covered under HIPAA as HIPAA only covers healthcare providers and healthcare insurers, not employers. When an employee gives information about their health to an employer, while the employer should endeavor to not make it public, they do have a right to disclose the information to those who have a legitimate business need to know (such as a supervisor who would have to make personnel and staffing plans if an employee were going to end up going out of work for a medical reason).

Legally, the only other thing you can do is inform the HR supervisor that the manager is spreading the inappropriate rumors and that if the employer does not take action you would have to consider legal action against the employer and manager for invasion of your privacy by continuing to spread the information. But you also have to realize, once one person is told there is no way to untell it, so if the manager told one person there is absolutely no way for the employer or you to stop others from hearing the information in reality as they cannot erase it from minds and they are not telling known lies about you.

You do have a right to not be discriminated against and not treated differently because of your pregnancy and if you are then you can file a complaint with he EEOC and eventually can sue for sexual harassment/discrimination.

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Customer: replied 4 years ago.

so what if it manger who is spreading the rumors an nothr does the same rule still apply because now.they are talkin about basically demoting me would that fall under discrimunation because i brought it to the plant manager

Expert:  Law Educator, Esq. replied 4 years ago.
Yes, if it is your manager spreading rumors and they are talking about demoting you, this most certainly would fall under discrimination which you need to immediately report to the EEOC and have them start an investigation to give you a right to sue letter.