disclosure, legal or illegal
Jun 8, 2008
First of all, thank you for having such a wonderful and resouceful forum.
I am with my company for 3 years and it is a small office of 13 people or so. Last year the company considered switching the ins comp. Of course the application forms were handed out. However there was no envelope or anything along with it to protect private info, but I was afraid to suggest it since I didn't want anyone to be suspicious of anything. At first I filled out the form stating HIV-,which was a lie(and yes I now know that is the worst you can do), but I got worried about my HIV treatment that already started 2 months earlier. So I told the general manager who handled the application forms about my HIV status and wanted to revise my ins application form. Turns out, the new ins company raised the rate, so my company decided not to switch the ins comp afterall(I am thankful for that).
a year has passed, the general manager has now become a part timer general manager(I know it's weird but true) so I guess naturally a different person will take over handling ins matters although it's not happeneing yet.
The other day I asked the general manager if she has told this new guy about my status and she said "yes"
She told other managers when I was very sick last year when I just started meds which was understandable, but I am doing fine now and I felt a bit betrayed notifying other people without consulting with me first.
My questions is, is it a violation of privacy law that she has disclosed my medical status(specifying HIV+) to a new guy just because he "may" be handling the ins issue in the future, and not consulting with me first.
Since it is a small office, there is no such set department as HR to be exact...
Response from Ms. Breuer
She did not have the right to disclose your medical information to someone else without your permission. This is the reason I always encourage people to think six times before disclosing to anyone. Even managers with good intentions can screw up.
So you have options: 1. Let her know that she didn't actually have the right to disclose your medical info without your permission. (I'd encourage you to do this in any case. She could get her employer sued for that behavior.) 2. Be proactive with the new manager: schedule a conversation in which you explain that you know that she disclosed your diagnosis and you want to let him know that you're doing fine and welcome his feedback about your work. Stress that you do not generally share this information and expect him to keep it confidential--he has your permission to share this information with precisely no one. 3. Sue the employer. (I don't recommend this one.) 4. Write a letter for your medical file (which should be separate from your personnel file) registering your complaint that your medical information has been shared without your permission and asking the officers of the company to make sure that your medical information is to be kept confidential from this point on.
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