As a general rule, your employer cannot tell others you have COVID-19 without your consent. Under the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”), an employer must maintain confidentiality of its employees’ medical information. Similarly, the California Confidentiality of Medical Information Act requires employers to protect the privacy and security of any medical information relating to its employees.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (“CDC”) also provided guidance on this issue, urging employers to “maintain confidentiality of people with confirmed coronavirus infection.”
Although your employer cannot disclose your identity and medical information, your employer should inform your workplace that an employee has been diagnosed with COVID-19 and identify steps taken to address the issue. The CDC states that employers “should inform fellow employees of their possible exposure to COVID-19 in the workplace but maintain confidentiality as required by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).” While your employer may reach out to folks in your department to evaluate potential exposure, your employer must reasonably avoid other references that would permit a manager or co-worker to guess that you have been infected.
Finally, other privacy rights have been impacted by the pandemic exigency (e.g., HIPPA), so there may be circumstances where your employer may be required to disclose private information to public health officials, such as the CDC. However, the general rule still stands to protect your medical privacy rights in the workplace.
Contact Us for Legal Assistance
If you believe your rights were violated at work, reach out the Haeggquist & Eck, LLP as soon as possible for help. We can support your claim if you believe your employer disclosed sensitive or identifying information about your exposure to the coronavirus or COVID-19 status. Your employer is limited in what it can disclose to your coworkers or clients, and you can assert your rights with our legal assistance.
Schedule a free initial consultation with an attorney from Haeggquist & Eck, LLP soon by contacting us online or calling (619) 342-8000.