Disclosure of My Medical Information

Question: to Ask the Workplace Doctors about Medical Information

Can I sue another employee for telling other employees my personal medical history and personal information? I was taken to the hospital after collapsing and later found out that the employee who went with me to the hospital had told other employees my personal and medical info.

Signed, Can I Sue?


Answer:

Dear Can I Sue?:

Sure you can sue. I can tell you this in spite of the fact that our site doesn’t provide legal advice, as is stated where you sent your question. People can sue for almost anything. But before you do you’ll need to meet with an attorney and learn if she/he thinks you have a case. You are correct that your medical information is to be kept private and its disclosure is not legal without your permission, in most circumstances. However, you need to evaluate what is the purpose and benefit for suing, even if you win.

In this particular case, you should weigh what suing this employee who went to the hospital will do to her/him and how it will affect your working relationship with others he told of your medical information. Also you might wisely think beyond this one incident about how anger and suing will affect you. Will it make you healthier and more emotional stable? Will it distract from your work? Will it brighten your day or sour it? Sure you are angry with this individual and you have a right to express that. But before you explode, step back and ask how you would like to be told when you have done something wrong, such as saying something negative about another individual.

Also before you vent, take care not to create more gossip about your medical information. As you probably have deduced, I recommend that suing is not the best way to deal with this kind of breech of professional ethics. Check with others if this advice isn’t what you hoped to get. I wish you well. May the wind be at your back and the sun on your brow. Working together with hands, head, and heart takes and makes big WEGOS, and I suspect that is really what you want; a workplace where you are seen as a cheerleader and in which you find your coworkers in turn are cheering you.

William Gorden