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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2015
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    3

    Angry Supervisor Discussed an Employee's Mental Health Problems With Co-Workers

    My question involves labor and employment law for the state of: Texas

    I found out today when I went into work that my supervisor had talked with my coworkers about my mental health issues for which I had to leave work yesterday. I told my boss this information in confidence during a meeting we had between the 2 of us when he was concerned about my attendance earlier this year.

    Is this a possible HIPAA violation? It's embarrassing that information about my mental health is being spread around my job now.

    Any information that anyone can provide will be greatly appreciated.

    Warm regards,

    Ben

  2. #2
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    Jun 2006
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    Massachusetts
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    Default Re: Supervisor Discussed an Employee's Mental Health Problems With Co-Workers

    There is a reason I am asking this question, and it has a direct impact on the answer to your question.

    In what industry do you work?

  3. #3
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    Jul 2015
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    Default Re: Supervisor Discussed an Employee's Mental Health Problems With Co-Workers

    Quote Quoting cbg
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    There is a reason I am asking this question, and it has a direct impact on the answer to your question.

    In what industry do you work?
    The tech industry. If nothing else this is incredibly embarrassing and if there is no privacy then why offer up any information?

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2014
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    8,238

    Default Re: Supervisor Discussed an Employee's Mental Health Problems With Co-Workers

    Quote Quoting BenjiTexas
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    My question involves labor and employment law for the state of: Texas
    Is this a possible HIPAA violation? It's embarrassing that information about my mental health is being spread around my job now.
    That depends first of all on whether your employer is a “covered entity” under HIPAA. A covered entity are certain health care providers, health plans (e.g. health insurer), and health clearing houses. The U.S. Health and Human Services Department (HHS) explains this here: HIPAA covered entities. If your employer is not a covered entity, then this was not a HIPAA violation. Note that your only remedy for a violation of HIPAA is to file a complaint with HHS. HIPAA does not provide you with a remedy to sue for HIPAA violations.

    But even if it was not a HIPAA violation, it may well be a violation of the Americans with Disabilties Act (ADA). The ADA applies to all employers that employ 15 or more people. That’s because it may amount to discrimination or retaliation against you because of a disability, assuming that your mental health issue qualifies as a disability under the ADA. In addition, the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) regulations under the ADA require that certain health information of an employee be treated as a “confidential medical record.” 29 C.F.R 1630.14. Not knowing exactly what was said to the co-workers and why the information was disclosed, it is impossible to say whether there is a violation here. You may want to discuss that with an attorney who litigates ADA employment claims.

  5. #5
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    Jul 2015
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    Default Re: Supervisor Discussed an Employee's Mental Health Problems With Co-Workers

    Thank you so much for your information, it was very helpful!

  6. #6
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    Sep 2005
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    Default Re: Supervisor Discussed an Employee's Mental Health Problems With Co-Workers

    As Taxing Matters suggests, on the facts this could be an ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) violation. If your employer has fifteen or more employees on its payroll, and your mental health condition is a covered condition under the ADA, then the employer has certain duties to protect the confidentiality of your medical records. To determine whether or not a violation occurred would require an examination of the facts.

  7. #7
    Join Date
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    Massachusetts
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    Default Re: Supervisor Discussed an Employee's Mental Health Problems With Co-Workers

    That's exactly where I was going with my question. If you work in tech, it's almost certainly not a HIPAA violation. Your best bet would be to follow up on the ADA angle.

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