Ask Someone Else's Mom by Susan Writer

Employee Not Sure of Going Under Boss's Head

DEAR SOMEONE ELSE’S MOM: I’m still new at my job, but I keep seeing something that really bugs me.

It’s a healthcare center and my boss frequently leaves HIPAA-sensitive information laying around open on her desk even when she has outsiders in her office. She has left files and reports in the conference room, and once, in the lunch room.

I get that everyone slips sometimes, but this could get us all in trouble if a state agency shows up. I don’t know my boss’s boss, but I work closely with a very experienced woman, who is just above me, and just under our common boss. She is at another facility most of the time, so I don’t think she knows about what’s happening in ours. But she is in charge of the training for both buildings, so she is in our place fairly often.

Would it be wrong of me to tell her what my boss is doing? I don’t want my boss to be mad at me for going under her head, but I also don’t want to have everyone get in trouble. --- NEEDS TO PROTECT OTHERS’ PRIVACY

DEAR NEEDS TO PROTECT OTHERS’ PRIVACY: I’m guessing your boss is indeed in violation of at least company policies, not to mention good sense HIPAA practices.

It seems to me you would be perfectly justified in speaking to another employee who is in a position to take your concerns to the boss, provided she can do it without naming you as the source of the concern.

Need advice? Please send your questions to Someone Else’s Mom at