What recourse do I have if my HR department disclosed a medical condition to my supervisor?

UPDATED: Sep 29, 2022

Advertiser Disclosure

It’s all about you. We want to help you make the right legal decisions.

We strive to help you make confident insurance and legal decisions. Finding trusted and reliable insurance quotes and legal advice should be easy. This doesn’t influence our content. Our opinions are our own.

UPDATED: Sep 29, 2022Fact Checked

Get Legal Help Today

Compare Quotes From Top Companies and Save

secured lock Secured with SHA-256 Encryption

What recourse do I have if my HR department disclosed a medical condition to my supervisor?

About 6 weeks ago my father died. After his death, depression I’ve had for 8 years became severe. I asked my HR person what I would need to do to file a disability claim but never filed. She promised me the information was secret until I decided to disclose it. Fast forward and at my performance review, to my shock, my supervisor (who I didn’t tell) puts forward a letter saying they’ll give me unpaid disability leave for my depression. I then learned he was told, as well as another HR person and the CFO. I feel humiliated, and as if it was cruel to equate my mental condition with performance issues without warning me. Do I have any recourse?
If it helps, I have in writing the promise from HR that they wouldn’t disclose my information.

Asked on November 10, 2015 under Employment Labor Law, Virginia


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 7 years ago | Contributor

You most likely do not have any recourse:
1) HR can disclose the condition to those in the company who have a legitimate right to know, like your supervisor; other HR staff; and the CFO. Disclosing the condition internally to staff with a legitimate need to know is not a violation of any obligations.
2) More generally, an employer is not under strong non-disclosure obligations in regard to medical conditions--i.e. it's not like the way doctors, hospitals, etc. cannot disclose.
3) Feeling "humiliated" is not an injury or damage for which the law provides compensation.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although AttorneyPages.com has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

Get Legal Help Today

Find the right lawyer for your legal issue.

secured lock Secured with SHA-256 Encryption