How serious of a violation of HIPAA is releasing the illness for why an employee was absent?

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How serious of a violation of HIPAA is releasing the illness for why an employee was absent?

I was absent from work for a week while suffering from a kidney stone for which I
notified HR. Upon returning to work today, I have been asked by 2 coworkers about
it, making it apparent that someone in HR disclosed my information without my
permission. How serious of a violation is this and would it be reasonable to
complain?

Asked on August 28, 2017 under Employment Labor Law, Tennessee

Answers:

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

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

HIPAA only applies to "covered" entities such as hospitals and other health care providers. Typcially, an employer is not such an entity, therefore HIPPA does not apply to them. That having been said, if such a disclosure violates the terms of a union agreement or employment contract, then that would be actionable.


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