1. Free Legal Help, Legal Forms and Lawyers. TheLaw.com has been providing free legal assistance online since 1995. Our most popular destinations for legal help are below. It only takes a minute to join our legal community!

    Dismiss Notice

First amendment, gender bias, & wage claim

Discussion in 'Discrimination & Sexual Harassment' started by mhatchett, May 28, 2020.

  1. mhatchett

    mhatchett Law Topic Starter New Member

    Messages:
    9
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    1
    Jurisdiction:
    Indiana
    I worked for a regional hospital until I was terminated on April 10 of this year. I was terminated for a Facebook post that was deemed a HIPAA violation by my director. This was after MULTIPLE confrontations with said director. I contacted HR and went above my director with no luck. They wouldn't even meet with me. It was actually not a HIPAA violation as I did not provide ANY identifying information. That being said, I contacted a small law office. They believe I have a first amendment claim, a gender bias claim, and a potential wage claim. My goal is a settlement and to AT LEAST be in good standing with that employer. My career path is hindered due to this "HIPAA violation" and I honestly want the director to feel what I have experienced since being terminated.

    Indiana is an at-will employment state and my director did not physically state anything related to a "protected class". However, I received 3 write-ups upon being terminated. One of them is a blatant lie and everyone who I worked with that day has agreed to stand beside me on that. The other lays out the Facebook post I made and the lawyer I spoke with said that this is a clear violation of my first amendment rights. He said that had the hospital's attorney seen the write-up, the attorney would have instructed them to remove it and terminate me for something else.

    My question is... Is it possible to go after my director as well? Also, this small law firm I contacted (due to financial reasons) originally did not see a claim. Now they see a claim but I get the feeling that they are not that confident in the case or aggressive enough for this. What do you recommend?
     
  2. cbg

    cbg Super Moderator

    Messages:
    8,238
    Likes Received:
    1,391
    Trophy Points:
    113

    Ask your lawyer. As you have representation already, it would be totally irresponsible of us to comment.
     
  3. adjusterjack

    adjusterjack Super Moderator

    Messages:
    7,756
    Likes Received:
    1,980
    Trophy Points:
    113

    If you mean name the Director in a lawsuit, sure. If you mean get a judgment against him personally, no, not likely.

    Me? I recommend that you collect unemployment compensation if eligible, look for another job and NEVER post anything about your employer on the internet.

    Are you collecting unemployment compensation?

    Now let's go over your post.

    Didn't have to be a HIPAA violation. You could be fired for any reason or no reason, including something you posted on Facebook that your Director just didn't like. (Yeah, there could be exceptions, but I doubt that any apply here.)

    The first amendment protects you from the government's infringement on your freedom of speech. There is no such protection from your employer, unless maybe it's a government operated hospital.

    Don't think so. The hospital employs people with a variety of genders.

    Only if you were illegally terminated and I don't see anything illegal or wrongful about your termination.

    Not gonna happen.

    Google first amendment and you'll find out why that doesn't apply.

    They'll be confident and aggressive enough once you pay them. But that's no guarantee that you'll win.
     
  4. Zigner

    Zigner Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    2,119
    Likes Received:
    1,096
    Trophy Points:
    113

    Quite frankly, you posted patient information on the web. It would be possible to identify the patient for some people, and that is a violation of HIPAA (not that it needed to be, as was pointed out above).
     
  5. zddoodah

    zddoodah Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    3,704
    Likes Received:
    867
    Trophy Points:
    113

    Unless the hospital for which you worked was owned/operated by a governmental entity (e.g., a VA hospital), the lawyer who told you this doesn't know what he/she is talking about. The First Amendment does not apply to non-governmental entities (except in a couple very rare situations not applicable here).

    It's possible to "go after" anyone you want...your director...Tom Hanks...me....

    If you're not comfortable with the lawyer with whom you previously consulted, you're free to seek a second opinion. All I can tell you based on your post is that you likely do not have a First Amendment claim for the reason mentioned. Your post does not contain any facts that would allow anyone to posit an informed opinion about a gender discrimination or wage claim.

    The OP wrote that he/she "contacted" a lawyer. Neither contacting nor consulting with a lawyer is the same thing as "hav[ing] representation."
     
  6. justblue

    justblue Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,360
    Likes Received:
    585
    Trophy Points:
    113

    Hey!! Leave Tom Hanks alone! America's Dad is off limits! ;)
     
  7. Zigner

    Zigner Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    2,119
    Likes Received:
    1,096
    Trophy Points:
    113

    I thought we didn't use that phrase after Cosby...
     
    army judge likes this.
  8. army judge

    army judge Super Moderator

    Messages:
    32,057
    Likes Received:
    4,767
    Trophy Points:
    113

    I thought the title of America's dad belonged to "frisky" "jiggy" Benjamin Franklin.
     
  9. mhatchett

    mhatchett Law Topic Starter New Member

    Messages:
    9
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    1
    I have not retained a lawyer. I had a consultation with a lawyer. If I had a lawyer, I would not be on here asking for your help with these questions.
     
  10. mhatchett

    mhatchett Law Topic Starter New Member

    Messages:
    9
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    1
    Where did I post patient information?
     
  11. PayrollHRGuy

    PayrollHRGuy Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    917
    Likes Received:
    455
    Trophy Points:
    63

    Well since you don't have a lawyer how did the lawyer you consulted explain that there would be a Freedom of Speech issue? Is your employer a government organization?

    For that matter how did they explain there was a gender bias or wage claim. And if they thought so much about your claim why are they not going to represent you?
     
  12. Zigner

    Zigner Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    2,119
    Likes Received:
    1,096
    Trophy Points:
    113

    You should speak to different attorneys than the one you spoke with.
     
  13. PayrollHRGuy

    PayrollHRGuy Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    917
    Likes Received:
    455
    Trophy Points:
    63

    According to you on FaceBook.
     
  14. mhatchett

    mhatchett Law Topic Starter New Member

    Messages:
    9
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    1
    Thank you for your reply. The lawyer I spoke with says that I have the First Amendment claim because the hospital I worked for is a county owned hospital. He said if it was not a county owned hospital, then that was not a valid claim.

    The gender bias claim... The same day I posted that information on Facebook (by the way, it was literally just non-specific vital signs), a female coworker posted more in-depth about a patient she had. She was not disciplined. She even called HR on my behalf and told them that she did the same thing. They instructed her that it was a different situation.

    The wage claim... They took all of my PTO check because they paid for my school. There is no policy that says they can do that. The contract that I signed for the tuition reimbursement simply stated that I would be responsible for paying the hospital back within 30 days. It did not say they would deduct it from my last check (which was my PTO check of roughly $1,800). The lawyer I spoke with said he would need to review the contract and company policies more though.
     
  15. mhatchett

    mhatchett Law Topic Starter New Member

    Messages:
    9
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    1
    Obviously I don't believe I posted patient information or else I would not be pursuing this.
     
  16. PayrollHRGuy

    PayrollHRGuy Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    917
    Likes Received:
    455
    Trophy Points:
    63

    You don't think you id because you didn't post the patient's name. But it doesn't have to include the patient's name to be a HIPAA violation if anyone could possibly identify the patient. Further, it doesn't have to be a HIPAA violation to get you fired.
     
  17. PayrollHRGuy

    PayrollHRGuy Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    917
    Likes Received:
    455
    Trophy Points:
    63

    Even if it is a county-owned hospital I don't think you have a 1st amendment case because the speech isn't about the hospital it is about a patient. And what are you and your co-workers doing posting information like that on FaceBook in the first place?

    Just because a male and female were treated differently doesn't automatically make it a gender discrimination claim. A lot more information would be needed to know if it were.

    Just like, as the lawyer told you, would be needed for a wage claim.
     
  18. justblue

    justblue Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,360
    Likes Received:
    585
    Trophy Points:
    113

    Tom is the new and improved Dad.
     
  19. mightymoose

    mightymoose Moderator

    Messages:
    11,055
    Likes Received:
    1,835
    Trophy Points:
    113

    It sounds like you either got a consultation from someone who just wants your money or you left out a ton of details.

    Nothing you said raises a 1st Amendment issue, gender bias issue, or wage issue.
     
    Disabled Vet likes this.
  20. zddoodah

    zddoodah Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    3,704
    Likes Received:
    867
    Trophy Points:
    113

    I agree. That it's a county hospital means that a First Amendment claim is a possibility.

    It's worth pointing out that, since no one here has seen what you actually posted, we have no conceivable way of intelligently assessing the validity of the hospital's claim of a HIPAA violation. However, if the issue is even arguable, then I don't see a potential First Amendment claim having any chance of success.

    If you want to take this further, retain counsel.
     

Share This Page