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HIPAA and Absences

Is it against HIPAA laws to post daily list of absences for everyone at work?

The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) Privacy Rule protects from the unauthorized disclosure of personally identifiable health information that pertains to a consumer of health care services. The privacy rule applies to covered entities such as health plans, health care clearinghouses, and health care providers. Most employers are not covered entities; however, an employer with a health clinic of any kind or one who acts as the intermediary between its employees and health care providers is covered under the law.

Personally identifiable health information is information that specifically identifies an individual. Examples include health care claims, doctor’s notes, enrollment information, premium payments, and reports of injuries or illnesses. A list of absences wouldn’t normally violate the act unless the list included employees’ names and specific reasons for the absences such as chemotherapy or cardiologist visit.

I’m curious as to why an employer would want to post a daily list of employee absences. I would understand if it’s for the purpose of other workers knowing who is out of the office each day. However, posting a list of absent workers in an attempt to call them out or highlight excessive absences is passive aggressive and not the proper way to address an issue with an employee.

This entry was posted on Monday, October 20th, 2014 at 1:36 pm and is filed under
Human Resources Management, Labor Laws.
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