Insurance Company revealed my status
Dec 12, 2001
My HMO has informed a district meat manager of my HIV status. I am a butcher. Now he has been telling everyone at the two stores that I work at. Is there any legal action I can take for this? I've told no one, and this idiot has been blabbing to all at work. Now I don't want to be there anymore. Please help me!!!!
Response from Ms. Breuer
Please act right away. Go to your director of human resources (or whoever has that responsibility) and tell that person that your rights to confidentiality are being violated by both the HMO and your district manager. Better yet, have that information conveyed to your HR person by a lawyer. Their ignorance could cost you your job, and you need to take the lead. You can find a lawyer who specializes in HIV and discrimination one of two ways: by contacting your local AIDS service organization, or by calling the American Bar Association's AIDS Coordination Project at 202.662/1025. Ask for a referral in your area. Even if you do end up spending some money on a lawyer, it's less than it would cost you to lose your job. Your HR person should read the HMO person the riot act, and your district manager needs to be disciplined immediately for revealing medical information about you without your permission. That is the cause of the vast majority of lawsuits filed in connection with HIV over the last 15 years. Start now to collect or record in a journal any and all information about how this has happened: timeline, how you learned that the HMO told the district manager, especially if you have anything in writing. I wish you well. If this does end up in a suit, you have every reason to anticipate success, but I'd rather just see you keep your job.
And just for the record: your HIV status does not threaten the health of any of your employer's customers. Even if you were to bleed on the meat, that would not put any customer at risk of HIV infection. Your employer has a steep learning curve to climb, and should do workplace HIV education right away. It's amazing what uninformed people can do when they feel threatened. Please keep us posted.
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