Home health aide fired, but no breach of confidentiality?

by Anonymous
(Indiana)

A home health aid was off duty and went to a clients home that had cancelled service for the day. Upon calling the office, they agreed to come check on the client. The home health aid lived close by and went home to use the restroom.

As she was leaving her home to go back to meet office staff, the home health aid was greeted by a friend and the friend got in her car to chat, while the aid waited for office workers to meet her. The next day the office fired the aid, saying she violated HIPAA by having a person in her vehicle in front of the client's apartment building.

Keep in mind the person in the home health aid's vehicle had no knowledge of the client, which apartment she lived in or any private medical information. Is it legal for the employer to fire the home health aide like that? There is no breach of confidentiality? Thank you.

Visitor Question:
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ANSWER for "Home health aide fired, but no breach of confidentiality?":

Anonymous (Indiana):

It is perfectly legal to terminate the employment of a worker in Indiana for any reasons other than the following:

1. The terminated employee was working under a written contract of employment; or

2. The employee was terminated based on discrimination

From the facts you present, the employee was dismissed for reasons tangential to her work duties, whether her actions were appropriate or not, and whether the employee was aware her actions were inappropriate.

The above is general information. Laws change frequently, and across jurisdictions. You should get a personalized case evaluation from an attorney licensed in your state. Find a local attorney to give you a free case review here, or call (888) 647-2490.

Best of luck,

Judge Calisi

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