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Can you sue for complications from a HIPAA violation?

Dayton, OH |

My workers comp caseworker was trying to reach my team lead about problems we were having with my case. She called a public store line, a line that all employees are required to answer, and left detailed information about my injury and restrictions. She even gave out private information about problems we were having with my case (it involved a certain employee). The two associates that were working played the message back for all the other associates to listen to. The employees are angry about the comments that were made and refuse to speak to me. I was also promised a job by my supervisor prior to this message and that job has been given to someone else now. I feel that this violation has ruined the relationships I have at work and any possibility for advancement. Can I sue?

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Attorney answers 1


The federal law known as HIPAA does not create a private right of action for damages. It is enforced by a federal agency and may result in a fine or injunction against the violator. Furthermore, a worker's compensation case worker is not a health care worker. HIPAA generally only applies to health providers or health facilities but there are exceptions. Check with an Ohio attorney for a tort known as either invasion of privacy or improper disclosure of private information. You will have significant immunity issues going against the woker's compensation worker as they are probably a government employee. Depending on your state's law, you may have a claim against both the government worker and your former co-worker.

There are numerous issues that may arise in the denial of advancement. The employer/employee relationship is greatly influenced by state law. You need to consult with an attorney about those issues.

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