Jan 132011
 
 January 13, 2011  Breaches, Court

We normally associate the constitutional right to privacy with abortion and other child-bearing and (and related) concepts. But that right also covers the right to avoid disclosure of certain personal matters, including medical information. This case asks whether a New York City schoolteacher could sue the Board of Education for publicizing her fibromyalgia. The answer is No.

The case is Matson v. Board of Education, decided on January 11. School officials disciplined Matson, a music teacher, for taking sick leave so she could conduct a symphony orchestra at Trinity Church. Her doctor said the stress was work-related. While she needed time off from work, she could still function as a conductor at the church. In disciplining Matson, school officials publicized a report that made reference to her disability, characterized as “chronic fatigue syndrome, known as fibromyalgia.” Matson does not sue over the discipline but, instead, the public report that mentions her disability.

Read more on Bergstein & Ullrich, LLP Second Circuit Civil Rights. It seems that unless you have a fatal or stigmatizing medical condition, you don’t have a right to medical privacy in the Second Circuit.

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