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I had a medical issue and had to take a LOA. My wife works…

I had a medical...

I had a medical issue and had to take a LOA. My wife works in the same company and I gave permission to the HR lady to talk to my wife about updates. When my wife when to the HR office to give an update another manager was in the office. My wife asked if it was ok to talk. So they had an entire conversation about my medical issue with this other manager that I had not given permission to have my info shared with. My wife didn't know any better, but the HR lady had clear writen instructions from me that my information was not to be shared with anyone else. Now I am pretty sure everyone at works knows why I was taking time off. Is this a HIPAA violation?

Lawyer's Assistant: Have you discussed this with a manager or HR? Or with a lawyer?

No

Lawyer's Assistant: Are you an "at will" employee? Do you belong to a union?

Union

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

No I think that is it

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Answered in 2 minutes by:
5/8/2018
Legal Eagle
Legal Eagle, Lawyer
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 14,346
Experience: Licensed to practice before state and federal court
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Hello! I am a licensed attorney, admitted to practice in state and federal court. I have a nearly 100% satisfaction rating (click here for more info) so all that means is that you can count on me to help today. Because I want to provide you with the most accurate answer possible, do you mind if I take a moment to review your question?

Please keep in mind that our conversation does not include an attorney-client relationship and this is for general information purposes only.

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I’m sorry to hear about your situation. The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act includes a Privacy Rule and is the law that protects people from having their private health care information disclosed without their consent. The Privacy Rule essentially says that “covered entities” (clinics, doctors, dentists, etc.) that are in possession of any health-related information (e.g. tests, medications, diagnosis, etc.) that personally identifies a person (e.g. has their name, address, and SSN, for example) is required to maintain the privacy of that information.

In this case, because they aren't a covered entity, then it's not a HIPAA violation.

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On the other hand, you may have a separate cause of action.

This appears to be what’s called a public disclosure of private facts. This means that if someone is disclosing private facts about another, it could be actionable in civil court.

If a person was to sue, then they must establish four elements. Those are:

1. Public Disclosure: The disclosure of facts must be public. This means that they have to disclose to some other party.

2. Private Fact: These are private facts; not facts that are generally known (e.g. a person cannot sue on these grounds if the information was already given in an interview to a newspaper).

3. Offensive to a Reasonable Person

4. Not Newsworthy: The facts disclosed must not be newsworthy, meaning that there is no legitimate public concern. For example, if a nuclear power plant is dumping toxins into a nearby water supply, that is newsworthy.

You may want to consider just writing a cease and desist letter advising about the merits of the claim. There’s a site that I’ve used in the past where you can find a good template cease and desist letter (click here). Lawyers use letters like these often to enforce their client’s rights. It only costs $10 and it is way cheaper than litigation.

Because I value your input, I would like to know whether you have any other questions for me today that I could help you with?

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Customer reply replied 3 months ago
ok, that was very helpful. Thanks

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Legal Eagle
Legal Eagle, Lawyer
Category: Legal
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Customer reply replied 3 months ago
That is all, Thanks!

You bet. thanks so much!

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