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Does this qualify as Stress? California

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  • Does this qualify as Stress? California

    An HR employee confidentially told their (direct supervisor) HR Manager that they'd like to apply for another position (position X) within the company, to follow guidelines. The HR manager disclosed the confidential information to another Employee (Employee J) that does not get along with the director of position X. The Employee J went on to discourage the HR employee from applying for the job and complaining about their conflicts. This demotivated the HR Employee to apply for the position X and made the HR employee think that the HR Manager disclosed this information so that the Employee J would give negative feedback about Position X, instead of the HR manager looking like they are not supporting the HR Employee in a promotion or grown within the company.

    The only people that needed to know that the HR employee was going to apply for the new job would be director of HR, hiring managers and recruiter. The HR Manager has broken confidentiality by disclosing personal information and the HR Employee no longer has trust in the manager. The HR Employee has taken over the former duties of the HR Manager (Prior to mgr's promotion) and also feels that the HR Manager though saying that they support the HR Employee in applying for the new position... the HR Manager actually doesn't, Manager doesn't want to return to their old job duties if the HR Employee does get Position X.

    The HR Employee feels they cannot report this incident (violation of confidentiality) to the HR Director, because it would cause conflict and retalitation from the HR Manager. If the HR Employee doesn't get the Position X, it will cause embarrassment amoungst others that might have found out about the HR employee not getting position X, after being revealed by Employee J. Does this violation of confidentiality cause stress for an employee and may they make FONT=Arialan WC claim?
    Last edited by Cameron83; 09-22-2006, 07:53 AM.

  • #2
    This information is not only not confidential, but even in the state of CA, I can not fathom this qualifying as a WC claim. An employee asking someone to keep something confidential does not obligate them to do so, particularly when it is the HR Director and it involves the movement of staff in the organization. Perhaps the HR Director should have said they would keep it confidential, if in fact they even did. The employee had no real expectation that this would not be shared with anyone aside from the hiring manager. That simply isn't realistic. It certainly wouldn't be the kind of incident for which undue stress such as would trigger a WC claim would be expected. The threshold for "stress" or psychiatric claims is rather high and routine business occurrances that are disappointing would not qualify.
    I post with the full knowledge and support of my employer, though the opinions rendered are my own and not necessarily representative of their position. In other words, I'm a free agent.

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    • #3
      Confidentiality plays a major role in the situation

      Thank you so much for your reply. Unfortunately, the case at hand is that confidentiality plays a major role in the HR Department. Especially since it is the HR department has communicated the expectation to keep all employees' information confidential. The HR manager disclosed the information to someone outside of the hiring circle. It was unprofessional and how does the HR employee move forward with a complaint, to prevent the incident from happening again. The employee claims that they are stressed, and this lack of trust has caused a decrease in job performance and afraid of retaliation from all ends.

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      • #4
        The employee can claim stress all they like. It's not going to get her a workers comp claim.

        There is NO SUCH THING as stress leave, if by stress leave you mean a protected form of leave with definite guidelines, definitions and eligibility.

        This falls VERY far short of the level of "stress" that would be required for any kind of workers comp leave. So to answer your question, NO, this does not qualify as stress.

        The manager *may* have behaved unprofessionally but no laws were violated and the employee has neither any legal recourse nor any leave available to her on the basis of what you've posted. Frankly, if this were my employee rather than granting her any kind of leave, I'd be telling her to stop whining and get back to work or she wouldn't have ANY job within the company.

        She can follow whatever internal policies the employer may have with regards to an internal complaint. She has NO basis to move forward with any kind of complaint outside the company.
        The above answer, whatever it is, assumes that no legally binding and enforceable contract or CBA says otherwise. If it does, then the terms of the contract or CBA apply.

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        • #5
          It is still just a company policy that was violated if anything. The employee's only recourse is whatever is outlined in the policy. It still does not rise anywhere close to the level required for a WC claim. Nor, does it even come close to being illegal. It is borederline that it was even unprofessional to discuss this as it was the Director in question's employee who was looking to move and it is hardly unusual or unexpected for a supervisor to discuss the staffing situation in their department with others. In fact, most businesses encourage it so it isn't surprise when Mary is suddenly working someplace else.
          I post with the full knowledge and support of my employer, though the opinions rendered are my own and not necessarily representative of their position. In other words, I'm a free agent.

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          • #6
            Great reply

            The advise will be taken.

            have a good one.

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