Sorry to hear about your difficult situation. Unfortunately, the Avvo Q & A board is a place to ask and get answers to legal questions, not to solicit the assistance of an attorney. In addition to searching on Avvo, I would suggest CELA, here: http://www.cela.org/?page=4
Also, I'm assuming your looking for an attorney to provide a free consultation. Given the complexity of your issues and the obvious time it will take to parse through them all, you might have much better luck informing the lawyers you contact in advance that you are willing to pay a reasonable consult fee. Good luck.
This answer is a general interpretation of the law and is not fact specific to your case. Likewise it does not create an attorney-client relationship. You should seek an attorney for a review of your specific facts and documents.
There is no private right of action under HIPAA. If you suspect a health care worker is violating HIPAA, you can make a complaint to the govt board that governs that profession i.e., the Medical Board of California, California Dental Board etc as well as the Department of Health and Human Services and if they want, they will investigate and take action against the facility/worker if warranted. You can not sue under HIPAA. As for the rest of your question, get a consultation with a plaintiff employment and labor attorney. Many give free consultations, check beforehand. Use the "find a lawyer" tool on this site, and your local bar association is a good referral point too.
We do not have an attorney-client relationship. I am not your lawyer. The statements I have made do not constitute legal advice. Any statements I have made are based upon the very limited facts you have presented, and under the premise that you will consult with a local attorney. This is not an attempt to solicit business. This disclaimer is in addition to any disclaimers that this website has made. I am only licensed in California.
It appears you are a union apprentice in a DOT-regulated job. It is hard to understand what happened given the limited information. I can come up with two scenarios, though if I had more information, obviously I would be able to address what actually happened:
First possibility: You were removed from the apprenticeship program or became incapacitated during the apprenticeship, evidently for reasons related to your mental health. Now, you want to return. In order to do so, the union requires you to substantiate your request with medical information. You believe the union is asking for medical information it is not entitled to have, or perhaps does not have the qualifications to understand.
Second possibility: Your apprenticeship program was interrupted due to your mental health issues. You are not able to return to the program, or not yet able to return. In the meantime, you want to work but the apprenticeship program does not allow you to work outside the program. Or perhaps you want to work in your pre-apprenticeship trade but the program or union has restrictions. You know or believe you can work outside the program even with your mental health issues but the union's rules do not allow this. You want to apply for a waiver but are concerned about revealing your mental health status to the union committee members, who of course are not medical personnel.
Even if both my guesses are wrong, there is obviously some overlap of the various interests involved.
Some work limits imposed by union or apprenticeship rules are subject to an appeal process, often to a committee and even then, to the membership. Your difficulty is finessing such an appeal or informal request while being able to maintain your medical privacy. This is not always an easy task, but it may not be impossible.
There are not many attorneys with an understanding of mental health issues, union and union apprenticeship issues, and DOT regulations. What I can tell you is that due to the complexity and particularity of your situation, you will have to pay an attorney for assistance. The attorney will need to gather all the facts, including details of the apprenticeship, your medical records, and more.
For this type of assistance, you can expect to pay hourly. Labor and employment attorneys in California charge anywhere from $250 to $750 an hour depending on many factors including experience, area of law, geographic location, work load, interest in the case, difficulty of the case and more. You should expect to need at least three hours for this kind of consultation, but in my experience, seven or eight hours is more realistic as you will want to work with the attorney to develop a strategy. If you need the attorney to negotiate with the union or otherwise represent you, more time will be required.
Avvo rules prohibit me from making any specific recommendations for an attorney. Please try the web site of the California Employment Lawyers Association (CELA). CELA is the largest and most influential bar association in the state for attorneys who represent working people. The web site is www.cela.org. Click on "Find a CELA Member" and you can search by location and practice area. Many CELA attorneys represent clients throughout the state. Be sure to look for an attorney who states he or she works with union law.
I hope you can resolve your situation and wish you the best.
* * * PLEASE READ: All legal actions have time limits, called statutes of limitation. If you miss the deadline for filing your claim, you will lose the opportunity to pursue your case. Please consult with an experienced employment attorney as soon as possible to better preserve your rights. * * * Marilynn Mika Spencer provides information on Avvo as a service to the public, primarily when general information may be of assistance. Avvo is not an appropriate forum for an in-depth response or a detailed analysis. These comments are for information only and should not be considered legal advice. Legal advice must pertain to specific, detailed facts. * * * No attorney-client relationship is created based on this information exchange. * * *