Due to strict HIPPA regulations, most California patients trust that their medical records are securely held and protected. However, unauthorized access to medical records has become easier in many instances due to the increased prevalence of electronic medical records and other technological advances that allow health care entities to share data more easily. Recently, an employment discrimination suit was filed against a prestigious northeastern hospital due to the unauthorized disclosure of an employee’s HIV status.
The employee involved in the litigation worked as a housekeeper at the University Medical Center of Princeton at Plainsboro since 1988. Recently, she became aware of co-worker’s gossip regarding her HIV status, and she realized that her patient confidentiality and private medical records had somehow been breached. Her complaint states that she has been subjected to repeated hostility from the people she works with and her supervisors.
The woman further contends that her workplace was using an outdated physician’s recommendation that she be put on restricted work duties for a time as a reason to continuously push for her to go on disability or retire. The hospital’s official position is that it has investigated the matter thoroughly and has taken appropriate action against the person who originally accessed the records. However, the victim has not been provided with any supporting information or documentation about any disciplinary actions.
Many people face discrimination in their professions. Those experiencing employment discrimination in any form could benefit from seeking legal counsel from an attorney who is experienced in employment law. A California lawyer who is well versed in the current state legislation in this area of the law may be best suited to discuss the legal options available.
Source: centraljersey.com, “PRINCETON: HIV-infected employee sues University Medical Center over breach of personal records“, Philip Sean Curran, April 16, 2016