As COVID-19 cases continue to plague the country, businesses, employers, and other institutions are beginning to ask individuals about their vaccination status. In some cases, they are requiring proof of their status. If you are wondering if this is legal, McOmber McOmber & Luber, P.C. has some answers.
The HIPAA law
The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) is a federal law. It protects a person’s health information from being shared without their knowledge or consent.
HIPAA is very limited in scope. It only applies to specific health-related covered agencies, such as health care providers, health care plans, and health care clearing houses. Therefore, employers, restaurants, theaters, airlines, or stores are not part of HIPAA’s covered agencies. Consequently, if one of these groups asks you if you are vaccinated or for proof of vaccination, they are not in violation of HIPAA. You can choose to give them that information or not.
However, if your doctor gives your vaccination status to another entity without your authorization, they are in violation of HIPAA. Again, HIPAA applies only to health care providers and those involved in maintaining your health records.
If you believe your health care providers are not protecting your confidential medical information, you can file a complaint with the Office of Civil Rights within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
Employers are not a covered entity under the HIPAA law. Because of this, they can ask about or require proof of your vaccination status. Once an employer receives such information, they are required to keep it confidential. See guidance from the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).
Get Legal Assistance
If you believe that your employer has failed to keep your vaccine status confidential or to protect your medical information, they may be in violation of federal or state law. McOmber McOmber & Luber, P.C. has experienced lawyers to help you. Please call our office in Red Bank, New Jersey at 732-842-6500, our Marlton, New Jersey office at 856-985-9800., or our Newark, New Jersey office at 973-878-9040.