|April 22, 2019 | www.fisherphillips.com|
When a Florida federal court recently rejected a hospital system’s attempt to keep its physician compensation data private, despite a claim that the information constituted a trade secret, healthcare employers across the country were sent a strong and clear message that pay data might not be as protected as you think it is. The decision might come as somewhat of a surprise, given the lengths to which many healthcare employers go to keep their employees’ compensation information out of the public eye. What specifically did the court say, and is there any chance that you could avoid the same fate and keep your pay data private?
Healthcare industry employers routinely face staffing shortages and scheduling problems. National shortages are well-publicized, and the problem continues to grow as the demand for healthcare workers rises along with the age of the baby boomer population. The Bureau of Labor Statistics anticipates a 15 percent increase in registered nursing jobs between 2016 and 2026. Home health or personal care aide jobs are expected to grow at the staggering rate of 41 percent over the same time period.
When a medical or mental condition prevents an employee from working at full capacity, the situation can quickly become complicated for everyone, including the employee, human resources leaders, and well-intentioned supervisors. Such scenarios often trigger obligations under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), workers’ compensation statutes, and other state laws. In fact, distinct legal duties may arise under all of these laws at the same time. Depending on the circumstances, the Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA) could also bubble up in this statutory alphabet soup.