HIPAA laws and me

catmom, it’s no big deal if a question gets moved. Sometimes the moderators even disagree about where the question should be and it’ll travel through a few different forums before finally settling in.

I’d ask the doctor to leave the exact name of the illness off the sheet that you hand in to your employer. I doubt the doctor will care, but if he/she asks, just say that it got passed around the office last time and was a bit embarrassing.
Beyond, I was going to say that next time you get sick and you turn something in to Upper Mgt, maybe you could mention what happened last time, but I think it’s probably better to just go to HR and let them deal with it.

Also, in the future I would ask the doctor not to list the exact illness on the form and just or cross it off with magic marker before you turn it in. If the employer asks what you had, ask them why they need to know. I doubt they can come up with a reason why it makes a difference if you had a UTI or a sprained ankle so long as your back now and not contagious.

Actually, now that I think about it, for some industries, there are certain sicknesses that you do have to let your employer know about. But I’m sure that would be explained in your employee handbook.

Don’t know the legal ramifications of what your boss did, but what an ass.


GQ is for questions with factual answers. You asked for ‘any thoughts or suggestions?’ There is no factual answer. Don’t worry - it’s not like your post has been downgraded or anything.

Did the boss’s spouse mention this in passing because you were the one to answer the call? Then it’s just him having chatted to his wife and being overly nosy. His comment is a bit off - I mean, two days isn’t a long time for a UTI.

Be extra careful with your proof of illness, I’d say.

Hope you feel better now - UTIs can be so painful.

The doctor should not have put what your illness was on the form without your consent. That is a HIPAA thing. Not that the doctor violated HIPAA, but that you have the right to tell him not to put the exact illness on there.

I wouldn’t necessarily say the boss is an ass for telling their husband, but he should not have mentioned it to you at all. And if the boss had anything to do with it, then what an asshole. It’s quite clear the implication is that you weren’t really sick all that time.

Unfortunately, I have no experience in dealing with people over this. Just in having doctor’s excuses–and mine never mention why I was there. Either your work trusts the doctor or they don’t. Who’s the one with medical expertise?

The boss and the spouse are both males, right? Is this part of your discomfort with the situation…that it’s a guy talking to you about the UTI?

Are you even required to tell your boss what is wrong with you? Couldn’t you have just told him you were sick. Where I work the Dr.'s note is handed in directly to HR so that the boss never even sees it. I don’t think the boss is bound by any type of oath not to talk about your UTI with his wife. I wouldn’t suggest doing anything about this now.

I don’t think the doctor did that. If I’m understanding aright, the OP thought, incorrectly, that the company required a reason or diagnosis on the note, and so that’s what was requested from the doctor. The doctor complied with the request. It shouldn’t have gone farther than the boss, it did, hence the thread.

The boss made a passing comment and the OP is mad. I can’t see what possibly you have to gain from doing anything in this situation. So you’re mad, get past it. What are you wanting to get this guy fired? Or sue for some money?

Confronting him is only gonna make it worse. H/R is not going to help much, except to possibly tell him to not do it in the future. This will mean you went to H/R about your boss which will make him made.


The result will be, the boss will think, “Oh she’s making me go by the rules when all I did was express concern.”

Well if you do anything, just be prepared to follow the rest of the company rules to the letter, 'cause your boss is now gonna be on your back to make sure that you comply with every rule in the company manual.

There’s a time to fight battles and this isn’t one of them. Learn from this and in the future just make plans to see it doesn’t happen again.

Jobs are too tough to come by to let a passing comment ruin everything.

What are the damages in this instance? What can the OP recover? Litigation isn’t always the best option. If I were the OP, I would drop the issue. You could go to HR, but as others have said, it isn’t your best option since they exist to protect the company not you.

Removed double post

I disagree completely! You guys here are all about MUTUAL respect at work, and what this person did was disrespectful (maybe also illegal) and you just want her to take it? If HR is NOT there to fight for the rights of employees, what ARE they there for? OP, update your resume, and if you can afford to, give your 2 weeks, this IS NOT a boss you can effectively work for anymore.

Are you kidding? Why should she quit?

I guess I just don’t see the outrage. It’s a little skeevy to be discussing things like that outside the office, in a gossipy way, but I can totally see how it could happen, and I’m sure the wife meant well.

What harm exactly have you suffered? It’s a UTI, not an overdose or something that could effect the level of respect you get in the workplace.

Seriously, what’s the big deal? If the boss is a jerk, then he’s a jerk, but I think some of the responses in this thread are way over the top.

I have to admit, I come home and tell my spouse about anything interesting happening at work, and someone having a UTI bad enough to miss work might qualify. I wouldn’t think of it as a secret. Of course, I’m not anyone’s boss, and my husband never interacts with anyone I work with, and those things do change the situation.

:confused:What is illegal about a boss mentioning to his wife that an employee was out sick with an infection? A cite to a statue or a case would suffice. I’m not even seeing disrespect here.

Now the OP’s boss may or may not have violated some sort of employee rule as outlined in the employment manual, but without seeing the specific wording, I can’t really comment on that.

If I did a thing like that I would fully expect to be fired for it. Managers have a great deal of information available to them about their employees. It is a basic job requirement to practice discretion.

I would think his (her?) boss would want to know about this.

To minimize the cost of labor for the employer.

I thought my disclaimer was enough. Guess not: It’s UNLIKELY it’s illegal, but I hope you agree it’s disrespectful.