Can I sue for wrongful termination and a violation of HIPPA?

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Can I sue for wrongful termination and a violation of HIPPA?

I called in sick to work 24 hours before my next shift and went to the doctor; I was provided a doctor’s note for 2 days. My boss then demanded my discharge paperwork with my personal medical information on it. I refused and he snatched the discharge papers from my hand, showed it to another employee, discriminated against me for the illness in front of this employee and told me to go home. The next morning he called me and fired me but refused to disclose why. Mine is an at-will state, however he discriminated me based off of my medical information and shared my personal information without my consent. Can I sue for wrongful termination or for the HIPPA violation?

Asked on September 29, 2018 under Employment Labor Law, Oklahoma

Answers:

M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

First of all HIPPA only apply to health insurers, HMO's, Medicare, Medicaid and long-term care insurers. It also applies to all health care providers who transmit patient health information in electronic form and companies that process and translate medical information into a standard electronic format. Accordingly, unless this is the type of employer that you workd for, your employer's conduct in disclosing your medical information was not a violation of HIPPA. As for wrongful termination, that only applies if your company's actions violated the terms of an employment contract/union agreement or in some way constitued a form of actionable discriminaton. As to the later, your treatment must have been due to your race, religion, age (over 40), gender, disability, nationality, etc. Since you gave no indication of this, specifically that your illness was due to a recognized disabiltiy, you have no claim here. The fact is that an employer can set the conditions of the workplace much as it sees fit.

M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

First of all HIPPA only apply to health insurers, HMO's, Medicare, Medicaid and long-term care insurers. It also applies to all health care providers who transmit patient health information in electronic form and companies that process and translate medical information into a standard electronic format. Accordingly, unless this is the type of employer that you workd for, your employer's conduct in disclosing your medical information was not a violation of HIPPA. As for wrongful termination, that only applies if your company's actions violated the terms of an employment contract/union agreement or in some way constitued a form of actionable discriminaton. As to the later, your treatment must have been due to your race, religion, age (over 40), gender, disability, nationality, etc. Since you gave no indication of this, specifically that your illness was due to a recognized disabiltiy, you have no claim here. The fact is that an employer can set the conditions of the workplace much as it sees fit.


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