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Employees rights (confidentiality) and interference to work? North Carolina

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  • Employees rights (confidentiality) and interference to work? North Carolina

    I worked for agency providing services to home bound patients under a program that the agency decided to "farm" out to a private agency. During the initial phases of the transition period, I went to work for a different agency in another county doing the same work with a different client base. I was approached by the private agency a few months later asking if I would do consultant work teaching their current employees the program and the procedures for all the paperwork, billing etc. I obtained permission from my current employer and began doing some work for them on Saturdays. Then the private agency asked if I would like to work them on a PRN basis. Again, I obtained permission from my employer and went through the orientation with the private company, on lunch hours and after hours. During this time, a lady I had worked with at the former agency contacted me and informed me that the state consultant for our areas had contacted my previous employer about the transitioning process with the private employer and informed "My prior employer" that I had was working with the private agency, did she "my previous employer" know this. The consultant went on to state to my previous employer, that she "the consultant" thought this was a conflict of interest but that she "my previous employer" did not hear this from her. That was over two months ago. Then, yesterday my current employer asked me to step into her office and that I close the door. My current employer had been on the phone with the same state consultant discussing new systems being put into place soon and was working with the consultant to designate security access levels to information in the new system. When my supervisor told the consultant that she wished to list me as second to contact at our office and to request that I have supervisory level access, the consultant stated "Oh wait, are you sure you wish to do that?" My supervisor asked her what she meant and the consultant then stated to my current employer "well, you do know what she is doing??" (referring to me). My supervisor asked her what she meant again and the consultant said, "You know she's working for that other company." My supervisor replied that she was fully aware that was working with another company. The consultant went on to state to her that she didn't know about me having access to both agencies information, that she saw it as a conflict of interest and she did not think I should have that level of security with my full time employer. My supervisor stated to the consultant, that I was very forthcoming with my employment with the second employer, that I obtained approval from her, my immediate supervisor and also our director and that none of them saw a conflict of interest. After informing the consultant again that she "my supervisor" wanted me listed as second to contact, my superivsor went on to tell the consultant that I was an excellent employee, that I loved what I did and it was who I am. That I was assisting the other agency with setting up the new program they had taken over. The consultant then stated, well I"m just going to have to call the other agency and speak to them about this. When my supervisor questioned the consultant on what the conflict of interest was, the consultant could or would not say. With all this being said, again I reiterate, that this is not a position that would favor client's moving from one agency to another, or give me any authority to direct their care to one agency over another. The services are community based, two separate counties and my current employer nor the second agency see any problem with me having the part-time job. Moreover, the state has to approve any new agency along with listed employees to work in the field and this was approved by the state a few weeks back (for the second agency).

    My questions are does this consultant have any authority or right to discuss my employment with the secondary employer with my previous or current employer. To make remarks in such a way to insinuate that I have acted unethically or have not been honest or forthright in my dealings with my current or secondary employer. And lastly, as a "state consultant" does she she even have the right to speak of conflict of interest or would that not need to come from her supervisor or the determining board of authority that grants permission to agencies to do the work that we do?? Thanks!

  • #2
    There are no laws prohibiting the consultant from speaking/asking about any part of your employment with an employer. It's unfortunate the consultant took the hostile stance that she did, however, again, there are no laws - confidentiality or otherwise - preventing her from doing so.

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