Medical Information -- Privacy

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    In theory, the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) is a law that recognizes an employee’s need for unforeseen leave while minimizing the costs and efforts of the employer. It sounds simple enough to say that an employee can receive up to 12 weeks (or, up to 26 weeks where applicable) of unpaid leave a year for certain reasons and can then...

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    At the end of summer, the Alaska Supreme Court addressed whether employees seeking damages for mental anguish open the door for an employer to obtain their mental health records. The court answered "maybe." If the claim is "garden variety" —i.e., nothing more than the distress that any healthy, well-adjusted person would likely feel as a...
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    A Wisconsin Employment Law Letter reader recently asked whether an employer can disclose an employee's performance review to its board of directors. The reader specified that the employee had been asked to leave the company, and the employer wanted to share his performance reviews with the board to justify its decision. Employers that question...
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    Last month, we reported that the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) wasn't taking a summer vacation from filing lawsuits against employers in the Carolinas. That trend has continued, with four more employers facing lawsuits by the EEOC. Rose Hill company sued for disability bias The EEOC has filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District...
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    Those of us in HR and the field of employment law sometimes feel like we're being force-fed a veritable alphabet soup of federal statutes. We have to mind our p's and q's under the FLSA, FMLA, ADA, ADAAA, and ADEA, just to name a few. But there's a relatively young law that some of you may not be aware of: the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination...
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    On January 25, 2013, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) issued final regulations implementing major amendments to the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). The HIPAA amendments were enacted in 2009 by the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act (HITECH Act). The HITECH Act is...
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    The Arizona Republic recently reported that the burglary of a doctor's office resulted in the loss of a computer server that contained the personal financial and medical information of 4,800 patients. That data included, among other things, medical records, addresses, phone numbers, and Social Security numbers. The doctor described the ordeal as a...
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    The Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA) prohibits employers from discriminating in any term or condition of employment based on employees' or applicants' "genetic information." It also prohibits you from requesting, requiring, or purchasing genetic information (with narrow exceptions). GINA was passed by Congress out of concern that...
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    The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) recently filed its first lawsuit against an employer under the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act of 2008 (GINA). GINA, which became effective on November 21, 2009, prohibits employers from using or requesting genetic information in employment-related matters. The EEOC sued Fabricut, Inc.,...
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    Covered entities and business associates should start to prepare now rather than after receiving notice from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' (HHS) Office for Civil Rights (OCR) of its intent to audit them. Preparing for a potential audit may also help protect covered entities and business associates from complaints to the OCR...
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