Bruce’s Summary: Although this United States District Court decision comes from Florida, these type decisions all have a way of ending up on our doorstep. The plaintiff applies for and gets FMLA coverage and leave from work. So, what’s the big deal? Well, apparently at a staff meeting a manager disclosed the individual’s medical condition to co-workers and suddenly jokes and obscene gestures start flying toward the employee. It appears the court, according to the author, felt the plaintiff had a right to confidentially as provided by the regulation and this was enough to establish an interference claim. Also, the retaliation claim survived because the court felt that the repeated and frequent jokes and gestures were enough to show a material impact on the plaintiff’s working conditions.
So what’s the takeaway? Only those with a need to know, should be privy to an employee’s medical condition and those who are privy, should understand the negative impact this can have if disclosed not only on the organization but the individual disclosing the information as well. For HR Professionals this is a great article for Management Training on what not to do. Good article and overview. “None of the information contained herein should be construed as legal advice, nor are Calvin Associates consultants engaged to offer legal advice. If there is a need for legal advice, please contact and seek the advice of independent legal counsel.” www.calvin-associates.com