Unauthorized snooping finds trouble for off-duty clerk

Medical records clerk came into work while on leave and checked relative's records
|Canadian Employment Law Today|Last Updated: 06/01/2011

This instalment of You Make the Call features a hospital employee who overstepped a hospital’s boundaries of confidentiality.

Lori Priest was a health records clerk working in the medical records department of a hospital run by the Saskatchewan Association of Health Organizations in Lloydminster, Sask. She was originally hired in 2005 and joined the hospital in 2007. As part of her job, Priest signed a code of confidentiality that recognized the “right to total privacy” for clients, residents and patients. The records department had similar confidentiality rules of which she was made aware of when she started work.

On July 17, 2008, Priest went on maternity leave, about two weeks before the baby was due. A few days later, on July 22, Priest learned that her husband’s cousin had been in a serious car accident and had been transported to Saskatoon for major surgery. She was asked to relay news of the accident to the cousin’s grandfather.