Q: Can I take my employer to court for releasing personal information to outside customers and vendors without my consent?
I recently had a baby prematurely. I shared this information internally with my employer. Within a few hours of sharing, I received an email from a co-worker to a group of customers, (some of which I do not know) detailing not only the birth of my son but also his full name and that he was born prematurely. The email also went on to say that I would be taking paternity leave indefinitely, though I had not had any conversation with my employer as such.
I am wondering what I can do to ensure my employer is held responsible for breaking my privacy and sharing protected health information.
A: More information is needed to analyze your situation. Is your employer requiring you to take a leave you otherwise are not intending to take? Additionally, there is no private cause of action under HIPPA. Only the Department of Health and Human Services and state attorneys general have the power to enforce HIPAA violations, but you can report your employer's actions. You should contact an employment attorney in your area to discuss the details of your situation and determine your best options moving forward.
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