Apr 152013
 
 April 15, 2013  Court, Featured News, U.S., Workplace

V. John Ella of Jackson Lewis writes:

The Fourth District Court of Appeal for the State of California expanded the tort of “public disclosure of private facts” under that state’s common law right to privacy in a case involving a claim by an employee against her supervisor and employer. Ignat v. Yum! Brands, Inc. et al, No. G046434, (Cal. Ct. App. March 18, 2013). The plaintiff in that case suffered from bi-polar disorder and occasionally missed work due to the side effects of medication adjustments.  After returning from such an absence, the plaintiff alleged that her supervisor had informed everyone in her department about her medical condition and that, as a result, she was “shunned” and a co-worker asked if she was going to “go postal.”  The plaintiff filed suit alleging a single cause of action for invasion of privacy by public disclosure of private facts.

Read more on Lexology.  This is a good case for all employers to consider, as the issue of how much co-workers can be told if an employee is out on medical leave or for other personal reasons comes up fairly frequently.  To avoid possible legal problems, it would make sense (to me, anyway) for an employer to ask the employee, “Your colleagues are concerned about you – how much do you want me to tell them about what’s going on?”