Adjunct Law Prof Blog

Editor: Mitchell H. Rubinstein
New York Law School

Monday, March 4, 2013

Employee found guilty of uploading confidential medical information viewed while at work on Facebook terminated

The Appellate Division affirmed the dismissal of an Emergency Medical Services Supervisor by the Commissioner of the New York City Fire Department for misconduct, ruling that the Commissioner’s determination that the Supervisor was guilty of violating departmental regulations was supported by substantial evidence.
The EMS Supervisor had admitted photographing a computer terminal’s screen showing confidential and privileged information received during a 911 call concerning a medical emergency, as well as the 911 caller's name, address and telephone number, and then uploading the image to his Facebook account, with the caption "[c]an't make this up."
The decision states that approximately 460 of the Supervior’s Facebook "friends" had access to the posting.
Further, said the Appellate Division, at the time of the posting the EMS Supervisor understood that divulging such patient information was in violation of departmental rules, as well as a serious breach of trust.
Considering the “serious nature” of the Supervisor’s misconduct, the court said that the penalty imposed, dismissal,  did not shock its sense of fairness, citing Kelly v Safir, 96 NY2d 32 and  Berenhaus v Ward, 70 NY2d 436.
The decision is posted on the Internet at:
Reprinted by permission New York Public Personnel Law
Mitchell Rubinstein

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