Rita Risser Chai replies:
It depends on the reason they’re out. If they’re on vacation, I’m not aware of any law that says that is confidential information. And although there are laws that protect “medical information,” that has to do with medical records or information about a medical condition including mental illness and alcoholism. Saying someone is “out ill” probably does not violate the law, but saying “they’re in rehab” probably would. However, Fair Measures receives dozens and dozens of complaints every year from employees who feel their privacy has been invaded. For example, we’ve received complaints that employers told co-workers that employees were on vacation and where they went. Even though this may be legal, it upsets employees. So why upset them? The best practice is just to say the person is “out.”
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