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Medical Information sent by electronic mail
Mar 31, 2003

I work for a Government agency, and recently applied for FMLA coverage for my medical condition. I have found out that my personal medical information has been sent to several supervisors. I did not sign anything giving permission to send my personal medical information to anyone. I was told that electronic mail is different from the internet. It still comes down to sharing personal and private medical information to people I did not want to see my paperwork. Do I have any recourse? Thank you

Response from Ms. Breuer

I am not a lawyer, but I encourage you to find one very quickly. There is a huge body of precedent for you in the suits resulting from unauthorized disclosure in other workplace settings. That is the single most foolish step an employer can take, and it sounds as though yours took it. Haste! Get to an HIV-knowledgeable lawyer. Resources: your local AIDS service center, your local office of the ACLU, your state bar association (use the Yellow Pages, ask for a referral to a lawyer who is familiar with the ADA and HIV in particular). I wish you the best. Since you may not have 5 years and untold thousands to pursue a lawsuit, you may be able to achieve your goals in a more quiet settlement. A lawyer can help that happen. My purpose in suggesting that is twofold: you need to have them compensate for violating your privacy, and they need a good reason not to do this again to anyone else.



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