Labor Law: U.S. Court of Appeals Finds Hospital Violated the NLRA by Firing Nurse for Alleged HIPAA Violation, Tardiness, and Violation of Clinical Policy

November 15, 2017 | Strategic Insights for Health System


​A U.S. court of appeals for the 9th circuit upheld the National Labor Relations Board's (NLRB) conclusion that a hospital violated the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) by threats, coercion, and retaliation against its employees for engaging in protected union activity. The court also enforced NLRB's order requiring the hospital to schedule meetings of all its employees, during paid work time, so that the NLRB's "Notice to Employees" could be read to them in the presence of a union representative.

The court's opinion discusses numerous federal labor law violations that the hospital committed before and after a nurses' union election, including firing a nurse employee who was a prominent advocate of union activity. The hospital accused the nurse of workplace infractions, including violating the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act's (HIPAA) privacy rule by giving the human resources department a patient's partially redacted medical records in order to defend himself in a disciplinary proceeding. The proceeding stemmed from the nurse's alleged failure to abide by...

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