Can my school director be help liable for disclosing my medical condition?

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Can my school director be help liable for disclosing my medical condition?

On Christmas night 2 1/2 years ago, I had a pulmonary embolism and ended up in the ICU for a few days. I was in pain and very uncomfortable. I had to email my employer telling them that I didn’t know if I would be back to school for a while and explaining why. My Director sent me a text. I didn’t have my glasses plus I was on pain meds and thought that she texted me saying that she was going to pray for me. I thought it was sweet and didn’t think anything more of it. I returned to school and many students approached me and me that they heard I was dying; others were told that I would not be able to come back to school. I found these conversations a little concerning and invasive. Someone showed me my Director’s email. It basically went out to the whole school students, parents, grandparents, everyone on the mailing list telling them I’m in the hospital under serious conditions. I have since interviewed for other teaching positions and one interviewer looked at me with concern and asked if my health could handle going back to full-time. I was a little confused about how they were aware of my previous health issues. I found the text my Director sent me and realized the real message, she told me that she sent an email and hoped that I didn’t mind asking for everyone to pray for me. I told her it was fine, I could use the prayers, thinking that she meant her family. Again I was medicated and lacking glasses. She was not asking but telling me that she hoped I didn’t mind that she sent the text. I am now seeing the long term results from this. Is this something that can be addressed?

Asked on June 17, 2019 under Employment Labor Law, Utah

Answers:

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

Answered 1 year ago | Contributor

First of all, HIPPA (the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) does not apply here. Among other things, it requires the protection and confidential handling of protected health information.However, it only applies to health care providers and organizations. Further, unless divulging your medical condition violated the terms of an employment contract or union agreement, you had no right to confidentiality in this matter. Therefore,you have no claim here. The fact is that, absent some form of legally actionable discrimination, a company can set the conditions of the workplace much as it sees fit.

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

Answered 1 year ago | Contributor

First of all, HIPPA (the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) does not apply here. Among other things, it requires the protection and confidential handling of protected health information.However, it only applies to health care providers and organizations. Further, unless divulging your medical condition violated the terms of an employment contract or union agreement, you had no right to confidentiality in this matter. Therefore,you have no claim here. The fact is that, absent some form of legally actionable discrimination, a company can set the conditions of the workplace much as it sees fit.
 
 


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