Phoenix Children’s faces possible lawsuit after employee vaccine exemption list revealed
PHOENIX — Phoenix Children’s is facing a potential class-action lawsuit after a list of employees with approved vaccine exemptions was revealed.
The hospital on Oct. 15 allegedly sent an email to 368 people outlining protocols for employees with approved vaccine exemptions. In court documents filed with Maricopa County Superior Court, a class action complaint states the employee distribution list was visible and not blind carbon copied.
A nurse and patient sitter in the complaint claimed the hospital acted negligently and invaded employees’ privacy by public disclosure of private facts.
“It’s an act of negligence on behalf of the hospital,” said Alexander Kolodin with the Daviller Law Group who’s representing the employees.
“I mean they made a mistake, they know they made a mistake and that’s negligence.”
The complaint also alleges employees have suffered humiliation, inconvenience, financial losses and impairment/injury to their reputations.
“There’s a lot of emotional distress and anxiety with knowing that now your sensitive personal health information has been disclosed,” Kolodin said.
Phoenix Children’s in a statement provided to KTAR News 92.3 FM said release of the information was an administrative error.
“In the process of communicating internal safety protocols related to such accommodations, the employee distribution list for one email message was inadvertently visible, instead of blind carbon copying the recipients,” the statement read.
“Since learning of our administrative error, we immediately informed affected employees of the error, extended our sincere apologies and explained that efforts had been taken to avoid similar mistakes in the future.”
The complaint alleges the list of exposed employees was later shared on social media but does not specify who posted the list.
Monica Lindstrom, KTAR News 92.3 FM’s legal analyst, believes the employees have a strong case.
“In this case for information to end up on social media that is an intentional act, which is worth more than just an accident,” Lindstrom said
She warns this complaint should be a red flag for companies that collect this personal information about their employees.
It’ll be up to the court to decide whether the complaint meets the requirements to become a class action matter. Lindstrom says the accidental or intentional disclosure of personal employee information is almost always actionable, “but now the question is what are the damages? How do you quantify them?”
Kolodin says that the end goal for his clients is “the best the law can do is money, so we have to work on putting the value on that and so that’s what we’re doing on behalf of our clients.”
The complaint does not list an amount for damages.
Phoenix Children’s required all employees to be vaccinated against COVID-19 by Oct. 1.