All patients in West Virginia and across the country expect that their medical records are kept private. This is especially true for employees of hospitals whose records may contain sensitive information that they do not want shared with their co-workers. Unfortunately, one hospital employee from a different state has recently filed an employment law claim, arguing that her medical records were accessed by a co-worker, resulting in hostility and discrimination.
The woman, who suffers from HIV, has been an employee of the hospital named as a defendant in the lawsuit since 1988. In May 2013, she was hospitalized for an extended period of time and learned approximately a year later that her medical records were improperly accessed by a co-worker. She was informed of the access in a letter sent to her from a hospital representative in April 2014.
The letter reportedly informed her about the breach and that proper action against the co-worker was taken. According to the letter, the breach was discovered after a different co-worker notified hospital officials about potential issues. The lawsuit claims that the woman has been asked to perform tasks outside of her job description. Also, she claims that officials will not allow her to work on light duty -- as recommended by a doctor due to a shoulder condition -- and have suggested that she retire or seek disability.
One would hope that discrimination based on a person's medical condition is a thing of the past. Unfortunately, this is not the case, often leaving employees in West Virginia facing a difficult situation. In many cases, filing an employment law claim may be the appropriate response. An experienced attorney can help these victims better understand the options that are available to them.
Source: centraljersey.com, "PRINCETON: HIV-infected employee sues University Medical Center over breach of personal records", Philip Sean Curran, April 16, 2016