Can my boss tell another employee that I suffer from depression, even if I went to her in strictest confidence?

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Can my boss tell another employee that I suffer from depression, even if I went to her in strictest confidence?

When went to my boss to discuss a personal matter as I didn’t want any of the other employees to know my business. I asked my boss if it would be okay to leave early one day so that I may see a therapist for about 3-5 visitsbecause I’ve been depression and have been having anxiety. I said that I would get a note from the doctor for the dates I needed off. First she told me that I wasn’t allowed to take off certain days, even though this doctor was doing me a favor by fitting me in. Then after I left her office, she told HR, which I understand, but she also told another employee. This employee sent out an email which went to the entire department. She later retracted it, however it was already out there. I was humiliated. Is there anything that I can do?

Asked on September 5, 2019 under Employment Labor Law, New Jersey

Answers:

M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 1 year ago | Contributor

There is no right to privacy in the workplace, even about a medical condition. Accordingly, unless this disclosure violated the terms of an employment contract or union agreement you have no claim here. The fact is that a business can set the conditions of employment much as it sees fit (absent some form of legally actionable discrimination). That having been said, if your employer is a medical provider, etc., then you may have a case regarding a violation of HIPPA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act), otherwise you have no recourse here.

M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 1 year ago | Contributor

There is no right to privacy in the workplace, even about a medical condition. Accordingly, unless this disclosure violated the terms of an employment contract or union agreement you have no claim here. The fact is that a business can set the conditions of employment much as it sees fit (absent some form of legally actionable discrimination). That having been said, if your employer is a medical provider, etc., then you may have a case regarding a violation of HIPPA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act), otherwise you have no recourse here. 


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