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Old 01-26-2013, 07:16 PM
 
Location: here
16,590 posts, read 12,910,650 times
Reputation: 13218
I hope whoever sends the info out in an e-mail has permission from the employee first. Up to a point, I don't mind some medical info being shared with my coworkers. If I am unable to do my job, they would be more understanding if they knew why.
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Old 01-26-2013, 07:25 PM
 
Location: here
16,590 posts, read 12,910,650 times
Reputation: 13218
I have a coworker who has been mostly absent from work for several months. even when she is there, she only does about half of the tasks required by others in her position. Apparently she asked that people stop talking about her medical condition. IMO if we were allowed to know what's wrong, people might not resent having to cover for her.
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Old 01-26-2013, 07:27 PM
 
Location: Massachusetts
2,617 posts, read 1,361,159 times
Reputation: 1380
I'm making an intelligent guess you work in a female dominated industry - publishing, healthcare or higher education?
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Old 01-26-2013, 07:42 PM
NCN
 
13,933 posts, read 11,363,415 times
Reputation: 15896
The only person who should be sharing your health information with your co-workers is you. And I don't think it is a good idea for you to share health information with co-workers. It is none of their business.
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Old 01-26-2013, 11:16 PM
 
1,685 posts, read 971,292 times
Reputation: 2348
Quote:
Originally Posted by KittenSparkles View Post
I've been doing some reading about this topic since I posted this thread, and I don't believe that what he is doing is considered technically illegal. But, since this person, the director, is generally rather obtuse and disrespectful of others, I believe he hasn't ever considered that the people he sends these emails about might want a bit more discretion in terms of the level of detail and the number of people the information is shared with.
However, by your own admission, you do not know those the email reference. They may have said it was alright to inform the other employees. Equally, there could be others who are out for medical reasons and you never hear about it since they didnít give permission. Absent any evidence that the disclosures are without permission, getting overly concerned based on a personal paranoia isn't conducive of a healthy work relationship on your part. If you have evidence, such as youíre actually discussing your own situation, or you know someone who confirmed they never gave permission, at that point raising it with the appropriate HR generalist would be in order.
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Old 01-27-2013, 07:23 AM
 
Location: Camberville
6,715 posts, read 7,987,348 times
Reputation: 7725
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mystique13 View Post
I would never tell anyone anything, be it cancer or a pin prick. It's nobody's business. Protecting my job and privacy would come first. Let them talk, who cares? Are these coworkers paying my bills? If it was something major and possibly terminal, I would attempt to change my hours or make my job part time. Otherwise I would resign, if all else failed. I might seek a different job with easier hours, if my illness permitted. Insurance companies are very picky with covering illnesses and many companies are not as honest and employee friendly as they claim.Keep in mind that profit comes above all else in American corporations, regardless of their size. You are replaceable, when will anybody here realize this? Who are you kidding? Who cares what people think. I don't want their pity. I want dignity and privacy.Nobody heard about the fired woman whose son was diagnosed with cancer? She sued. You don't reveal medical issues. Do what you got to do. Use other reasons for absences, if possible. Otherwise change jobs.
This is particularly unrealistic. Most people work during cancer treatment because they have to, not because they want to. We need the money and health insurance. I can't imagine walking into an interview when I was bald, pale, my teeth turning grey, my body bloated, and in immense amounts of pain and expect anyone to take me seriously. Many people still see cancer as a death sentence. Leaving your job because of any health condition also makes you lose FMLA - you need to be with your employer at least a year to qualify.

I found that being open and making my colleagues know that while I was out twice a month for all-day chemo and might be out the Monday or Tuesday following chemo, I was available by phone or email and that my workload was not being decreased. I never slacked and even picked up more projects when I was sick just to prove that I wasn't holding anyone else back. It also gave the head of the department the opportunity to remind everyone that they are given sick time to use it, so if they were ill, they needed to stay home to not get everyone (especially me) sick. That was VERY effective and we've had a lot less cases in the 2 years since my diagnosis of one staff member coming in and making the rest of the office sick, curbing productivity for all.

Not every illness is cause to tell the entire department, but you definitely need to talk to your supervisors if you are going to be out often. Cancer meant that I was out at least 3 days a month, plus time for surgeries, multiple appointments during the week, etc. There was no way to do that WITHOUT informing my supervisors. Additionally, we were able to come to a solution that worked for both of us - I worked from chemo on my laptop and I got paid for the day, rather than run through all of my sick days and resort to unpaid leave. Their work got done, I got paid. That solution would NOT have happened if I had said nothing and just expected the humans I worked with to ignore my bald head.
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Old 01-27-2013, 09:40 AM
 
2,257 posts, read 1,194,592 times
Reputation: 1215
I was in a somewhat related situation. The health insurance company that my employer previously used had 3 different levels of deductible if you chose the HSA (Health Savings Account) option: Single, Employee + 1, and Family. I am married and have no kids yet, and I was one of the very few Employee + 1 people who chose the HSA. Our old health insurance company had a $2250 deductible for Employee + 1 and $3000 for a family. However, our new insurance company (even after my employer tried to negotiate with them) refuses to consider Employee + 1 and Family seperate, and considers anyone who is married to be a "Family" (even with no kids), and subject to the $3000 deductible.

My employer agreed that, for the very small number of employees (myself being one of them) who were Employee + 1 who chose the HSA option, the company would reimburse us out of their own pocket the difference, up to $750 ($3000 - $2250 = $750) if we went over the former $2250 dedutible. The catch was that we had to show them all of our medical records, in order to provet hat we went over $2250.

It ended up being moot for me, since I did not reach the $2250 deductible last year anyway. But there is absolutely no way that I would have given my medical records to my employer! That is absolutely none of their business! My wife and I both have minor medical problems that I absolutely do not want my employer to know about!!

What I wonder is, was this even legal for my employer to do this? Basically, in my opinion, they were buying, for $750, confidential medical records that they otherwise had no right to.

Some people might say that it was legal, given that we were given the option whether to give them our medical records or to just eat the $750. The problem with that argument is that someone who is low paid and struggling and can't afford to lose $750 is forced to release their medical records, and pray that they aren't discriminated against because of them. But someone who is highly paid and living the good life will just eat the $750 in exchange for confidentiality that they are otherwise entitled to.

Was this legal? And, even if legal, how do people feel about the ethics of this situation? In my opinion, even if it is legal, I feel that it was extremely unethical.
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Old 01-27-2013, 11:35 AM
 
Location: San Francisco
622 posts, read 336,602 times
Reputation: 392
Yeah, it seems like that's way too much info going out. I don't know the details of confidentiality laws because I work for myself and before that I was working abroad. Even abroad, in an academic setting, I shared with the department manager that I was going to get an insulin pump to manage my type 1 diabetes.

I needed to share the "why" because I was asking for permission to work elsewhere and needed their approval to do it (to not do so would risk me violating the terms of my visa). I wasn't going to get a "yes" unless I had a good reason. I got approval eventually.

However, a few weeks later I had someone wishing me luck on my upcoming surgery.

I'm glad to be home because I can just work without anyone's approval. I'm also glad we've got some protections in place regarding privacy.
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Old 01-27-2013, 02:00 PM
 
3,027 posts, read 2,112,130 times
Reputation: 2566
Quote:
Originally Posted by caligirlz View Post
totally unacceptable. That's PHI (private health information) & protected information. Anyone sharing that info, including managers, is violating state law & should be reported to HR & your internal privacy abuse office. It's usually an anonymous reporting system, and your company should have " no retaliation" protection.

Employees are not required by law to tell their manager why they are calling in sick. However, most management claims to have an "open door" policy, and encourage employees to share details they are not typically entitled to. And of course, people feel the need to tell managers the reason why they will be on LOA, out of perceived common courtesy, even though the reason usually has to be supplied to HR when requesting an LOA....at least in bigger companies. I'm sure the process varies from business to business.

Many managers & employees just don't know the rules. If I share additional details about an illness, I usually preface by telling my manager that I do not want the details to be shared. I'm very private & don't share the details of my life with the entire team, select friends yes, but not the entire team via mass email distribution. I've worked at ,any large corporations, and this is the first job were I've actually seen this abused on multiple occasions. I always report it via the privacy office annonymous line. We recieve annual training that requires that we report this kinda thing, especially since our business revolves around PHI.
totally agree. question is - who spilled the beans? HR, manager, or stupid employee that can't keep tongue on short leash and just has to let everyone know that he or she has pimple on the sensitive area?
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