Q: Is it legal for a supervisor to discuss personal things brought to their attention with other employees?
I have a supervisor that I discussed some things going on in my home life that effected my performance at work. There were also things discussed with this supervisor by other employees and even the owners of the company that she turns around and shares with employees below her. For example the owner was mad at an employee that is at the pay level as me and told the supervisor how he wanted to fire her and the supervisor then told me and other employees how he wants to fire her. The supervisor told other employees how one employee is going through legal struggles in her home life. Also another example is how an employee was going to leave for a bit to attend rehab was shared with employees. She says how she hates some employees very frequently as well. Is she violating a law in NYS? If so what exact laws?
A: If your supervisor was sharing confidential information she learned from looking at personnel files or in the course of her job duties, it is possible that would be a violation of privacy, particularly the information about the employee going to rehab. However, if the supervisor was gossiping about personal information that employees voluntarily shared with her, there are no laws that protect against that. Although it is very unprofessional.
It also is not illegal for your supervisor to state that she hates some employees, unless she said she hated them for a discriminatory reason such as their race, gender, religion, age or disability.
If you believe illegal action has occurred, you should discuss your situation with an experienced employment attorney.
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