my manager shows up while I’m having chemotherapy to talk about work

A reader writes:

I work at a small branch, which is part of a larger company. My office has a manager, an assistant manager, a receptionist, and nine other employees. I have been diagnosed with cancer. I am able to schedule my chemotherapy on my regular days off. Since my job has no physical labor and we don’t deal with the public at all and only deal with coworkers from other offices by phone or email, my cancer and treatments have not interfered with work and I’m still able to go in as normal. My coworkers know and have been understanding.

Each of us has a calendar where our days off (or in rare cases, meetings at other branches) are shown. The manager is supposed to have access to this, but our manager, Robert, is on the road most of the time and is rarely in our office. The receptionist, Osha, also has access so she can know who is in and who is out so she can direct calls appropriately. No one else is allowed to have access. The assistant manager, Ned, is not responsible for our schedules and is only responsible for dealing with employees who are in the office on a given day.

Recently while I was having chemotherapy, Ned showed up at the clinic and started asking me about work matters. I was completely surprised that he even knew where I was and that he was asking me about work on my off-time. The things he was asking about were not emergencies or work with deadlines. When I went back to work after my days off, Osha was waiting to speak with me and apologize. She was almost in tears because Ned had asked her about my schedule and whether I was on days off or at a meeting. She didn’t want to tell him at first because the calendars are supposed to be confidential, but he threatened to fire her if she didn’t tell him, and he also demanded the name of the clinic after she admitted that she knew what clinic I was getting my chemotherapy at.

I was really upset that Ned had threatened to fire Osha for following the rules and trying to keep the calendar confidential, and for coming to ask me about work stuff on my time off while I have having treatments. When Robert was actually in the office, I complained to him about Ned’s behavior and he assured me it would be dealt with. Well, him dealing with it was firing Osha for revealing confidential information that was on the calendar when she wasn’t supposed to. He gave Ned access to the calendars instead, so now Ned has access to my schedule and will come to the clinic when he has questions about work.

Robert says Ned isn’t doing anything wrong and when I complained to the company’s HR person about both Ned and Robert, I received the same answer. HR said that Robert was within his rights to terminate Osha since she breached confidentiality and she knew that doing so was a breach of our code of conduct. They said that if she had an issue, she should have spoken to the manager instead of taking it upon herself to release confidential information. HR also said that in regard to Ned coming to the clinic, “he is well within his rights” to seek my knowledge on workplace-related matters and “if the manager and assistant manager deem this necessary, it is up their discretion and not a matter where I can advise them to do otherwise.” I have since found out that the HR person is a family member of Robert’s.

I feel bad that Osha got fired and I don’t know where else to complain or what to do next because Robert, Ned, and the HR person are all against me on this.

Also, I have asked the clinic not to admit Ned, but sometimes he comes in anyway or waits until no one is looking before he comes in. There have been times when the nurses have asked him to leave or told him to get out of the room I am in. Sometimes he lies to them and says it is an emergency, and one volunteer told me Ned told the nurse on duty that he was family. I keep trying to tell him that he is disturbing me during my treatment but he either doesn’t listen or makes veiled references to me losing my job (which would also cause me to lose my benefits). His behavior is stressing me out even more than I already am.

What!

Your assistant manager is showing up while you’re having chemotherapy to ask you about work?

And your company has no problem with that?

And they fired the receptionist, rather than this tool?

Aggghhh.

I could name-call your managers for a while longer, but in the interest of giving you advice that doesn’t contain profanity, I talked to employment lawyer and always helpful Donna Ballman, author of the awesome Stand Up For Yourself Without Getting Fired. She says:

Wow! After 30 years of law practice I think I’ve heard it all and then something like this happens. Ned sounds like a real piece of work. I’d say there are a couple of avenues you might use on this, depending on the facts.

First of all, are you an exempt employee? And if they claim you are, is it possible you really aren’t? Because at the very least, they need to pay you for your time and any overtime for work you are doing on days off. If you’re hourly, put in those hours and tell them they owe you for that time. If you’re exempt (and I mean legally exempt, not bogus exempt), then you may be out of luck on that.

Second, do they show up to anyone’s house, shopping center or vacation on other non-disabled employees’ days off? If not, then I’d say you are being harassed due to your disability. I would suggest writing an email with the subject “Formal Complaint Of Disability-Based Harassment,” and detail how you are being singled out for this utter invasion of your privacy whereas other non-disabled employees are not similarly harassed on days off. Send with a delivery and read receipt to HR and ask them to investigate and take prompt action to investigate.

Finally, giving out your medical information is a violation of your medical privacy. The fact that Ned is given access to information about your medical treatments, timing and location is very likely a medical privacy violation, which is a separate violation of the ADA. You may also have a state or local law that protects the privacy of your medical information.

I’m not a health care lawyer, but you may also have potential claims against your physician’s office for violating your HIPAA and state medical privacy when they admit a person to your treatment without your consent.

I’d suggest talking to an employment lawyer in your state about your rights to see if there are state laws that might provide additional protection to you. But they should not be harassing you while you are receiving medical treatment for a disability, and the ADA should provide some protection to you.

I asked Donna whether if your employer does in fact have a track record of tracking other people down on their days off, is it correct to think that you then wouldn’t be able to allege disability-related harassment? (One has to think this isn’t their normal practice, but they sound awful enough that who knows.)

Donna said: “Probably not, if they do this to everyone. But then why the heck would anyone work there? I’m guessing they don’t. If they do it to everyone, then maybe it’s time to start talking about forming a union.”

Indeed.

Also, it’s time to have a stern conversation with your chemotherapy clinic because it’s their responsibility to keep Ned from sneaking in. Tell them that you’re having an ongoing struggle to keep him out, that he may lie and say that he’s family, and that you need them to ensure that he can’t get in and disrupt your treatment. Invoke HIPAA, which gives you legal protection here.

I’m sorry you’re dealing with this.

{ 514 comments… read them below or add one }

  1. Former Diet Coke Addict

    This is terrible and you should in no way have to deal with this in top of what is going on.

    When you speak to your clinic, do not just bring it up with any nurse who happens to be there. Ask to speak with the clinic manager and say specifically what happened and invoke HIPAA. This is horrifying.

    Reply
    1. AMT

      I’m baffled at how it’s even possible to just walk into a chemo clinic and hang out with the patients. Is there no, like…reception desk?

      Reply
      1. alter_ego

        It might be a case of “look like you know what you’re doing and where you’re going, and no one questions you”.

        I have to go into a lot of buildings around my city for work, and the ones that have a gate that requires an id badge, you obviously need to check in, but anything else? You can usually just walk with authority (we always have permission to be there, I genuinely do have the authority. I’m just rarely asked to prove it)

        Reply
        1. my two cents

          Wonder if dear sweet Ned claimed to be a supportive friend visiting OP during treatment. Ugh. So so so gross.

          Reply
          1. Anna No Mouse

            Considering he said he was family, I wouldn’t put this past him.

            Besides, even if he were family, HIPPA doesn’t mean that all family members get open access. A patient has to specify individuals with whom their healthcare providers can share medical information.

            Reply
            1. blushingflower

              Right, but she’s not saying that they shared her medical information with him, just that they let him in. I’ve been in exam rooms with friends before and simply been asked to step outside when confidential things were being discussed. Keeping someone company while they receive chemotherapy doesn’t necessarily mean you’re getting access to privileged medical information.

              Reply
                1. TootsNYC

                  except that the OP herself probably mentioned it at work–and HIPAA only covers doctors, nurses, insurance companies, etc.

                  If you mention medical info to your colleague, boss, neighbor, etc., there is no law that prevents them (well, or would punish them for) from telling that info to other people.

                2. Noah

                  Even if she told them at work she’s getting chemo, her medical provider cannot release that information–even to somebody who already knows–without her consent.

                3. BeautifulVoid

                  Yup, even if she’s mentioned having chemo at work (and even the location), the clinic still can’t confirm “Yes, this patient is receiving treatment here now (or ever)” without a waiver.

          2. Crazy4Tp0tz!

            While yes, she should have gone over Ned’s head, Osha might have a hostile work environment case…

            “he threatened to fire her if she didn’t tell him, and he also demanded the name of the clinic after she admitted that she knew what clinic I was getting my chemotherapy”.

            Reply
            1. fposte

              That’s not what a hostile work environment means, though. You can threaten to fire people all you want, as long as it’s not for a reason specifically forbidden by law.

              Reply
                1. fposte

                  Not unless she’s a health care worker or involved with PHI because of her job another way. HIPAA doesn’t prevent yer basic worker from disclosing what another worker told her. And disclosing protected health information is still a different wrong than a hostile work environment. Additionally, there’s no private action under HIPAA–it’s about getting the institution disciplined, not about getting the wronged person money.

                  It’s possible that there’s something under the ADA, because of guidelines about privacy when it comes to disability. But that’s just a guess (especially as IANAL).

              1. stevenz

                But I wouldn’t put any of the blame on Osha because her behaviour is of nothing compared to Ned’s. He is a maniac, Osha was just – naturally enough – intimidated by the maniac.

                Reply
      2. Former Diet Coke Addict

        Even with a reception desk, it’s possible that someone could slip in when it’s unattended for a minute or during shift change, etc. Lots of chemo clinics have non-patients coming and going (relatives, friends, pastoral members) to meet with people stuck there for hours, so it may not automatically raise a red flag.

        Reply
        1. mataliandy

          But the reception desk CANNOT knowingly allow someone through, even if they claim to be family. They MUST give the patient the right to NOT have their presence disclosed to anyone, at the patient’s sole discretion. From the HHS web site (note: “directory,” below, refers to the list of which patients are in the facility and where):

          “the covered health care provider must inform the patient about the directory and provide the patient an opportunity to express his or her preference about how, or if, the information may be disclosed.”

          She has expressly forbidden the facility from letting this person in to see her, but they have provided him with sufficient information about her presence in the facility for him to gain access to her in contravention of her express withdrawal of permission. This is in direct violation of federal law. She can file a complaint online at: http://www.hhs.gov/hipaa/filing-a-complaint/index.html

          Reply
      3. EJ

        To be honest.. I walked into a room where patients were receiving chemo, by accident. I was looking for a new doctors office, building layout was confusing. I walked through an open door thinking it was a passage way… and there were the chemo patients. It ended up being back of another office, which they left the door open to. :(

        But with this manager guy? That should NEVER happen! At least I was a patient in the building I was in. He has no excuse.

        Reply
      4. Joseph

        Me too – pretty much every doctor’s office and clinic I’ve ever been in has some sort of locked door between the waiting area and reception area that only opens from the inside (usually with a nurse actively saying “Mr. Smith?” then holding the door for you).

        Reply
          1. TowerofJoy

            I’ve seen quite a few. In part because there are also drugs back where the patient rooms are as well as loads of private information. I’ve also seen some where violent crime is high.

            Reply
            1. TL -

              Yeah, I work in a large medical area and I have an ID card but honestly, it’s pretty easy to get around even when I forget it at home. I’ve definitely accidentally wandered into some weird places (and wandered right back out!) in multiple hospitals/treatment spaces.

              Reply
            2. Stranger than fiction

              Op this makes me so angry, like I’d want to barge into the men’s room while Robert or Ned was taking a crap and start asking them a bunch of work questions. Or show up to their house on the weekend when they’re having a bday party for their kid or something. Anyway, you didn’t say your office was understaffed so why in the hell do they feel the need to bother you when you’re of work? And why wouldn’t an email that you could answer later not suffice? Now I see why Ned was beheaded and Robert was poisoned, and poor Osha is just the wildling underdog.

              Reply
              1. I've Heard It Both Ways

                I discovered this blog earlier tonight and I’ve been reading for a few hours now without posting anything. But I just had to commend you for the GOT reference. :):):)

                Reply
                1. I've Heard It Both Ways

                  Well I’m an idiot. The names are intentional, I realize now, after reading one post about a Phoebe, Monica, and Rachel. That’s embarrassing.

            3. TowerofJoy

              Can you move where you get chemo? You absolutely shouldn’t have to and Ned and the gang need to all mind their own business, but in general I would want to be somewhere where there wasn’t open access from the lobby.

              Reply
        1. Episkey

          I am a volunteer at our local hospital with my dog (who is a therapy dog) — and we go to both cancer centers in the hospital to visit with the patients getting chemo. Both have reception desks, but neither have locked doors — at one, I can just walk right in with my dog, the nurses nod at me, and I go back to the infusion room which is just one big open room with multiple recliner chairs. At the other center, the employee at the front desk will call back to the clinic area and speak with a nurse — if the nurse says someone wants to see the dog, I just go straight back.

          Reply
        2. JAM

          My oncologist had a locked door for the patient appointment/medical record area but to enter the chemo half you just had to walk through a door. The records on that half are in locked cabinets and since chemo is a lengthy process, many people come in and out frequently to stop at the rest room or grab food, or even to just drop off and pick up the patient. It would be really easy to have access to the room because I doubt anyone thought someone would behave so horribly.

          Reply
      5. MK

        Also, a reception desk is not security. The receptionist might see someone walking in and ask them what their bussiness is, but if they pretend not to hear and go right on, will/can they leave their station to stop them?

        Reply
        1. Stephanie (HR)

          At a healthcare facility, they are charged with maintaining confidentiality, and must **actively** protect it. Passively not telling the person that some is or isn’t a patient isn’t enough. If a patient makes a request like this, the facility must act within reason to protect that confidentiality.

          Reply
          1. fposte

            What’s the usual “within reason”? I’m wondering whether this is supposed to be an automatic call to security or if getting a nurse to come and fish him out, which is what’s happening to the OP, is considered acceptable.

            Reply
            1. Elizabeth

              Information Security Officer for a healthcare facility here.

              “Within reason” is that they stop the person from just entering, identify the visitor & who they are visiting, verify with the patient that the visitor is desired and assure that the visitor doesn’t go wandering around and potentially interrupt the treatment of other patients.

              If the receptionist can’t do that, they shouldn’t be working in a healthcare facility. I take calls from receptionists and nurses all the time to help them deal with *cough* visitors like this. I’m 44, and until I quit dying my hair looked at least 10 years younger, but I also apparently come across as formidable in situations like this.

              Reply
      6. The Alias Gloria is Living Under, A.A., B.S.

        I used to work at a dialysis clinic and the door was usually left open from the lobby to the treatment floor. Most people checked in or stopped at my desk before proceeding, but those that didn’t, I couldn’t stop them. I wasn’t security, and since I’d have to go out onto the treatment floor and around a wall to confront them, if they didn’t talk to me first, usually they were talking to one of the nurses or the patient they were looking for before I even had the chance to get to them.

        Reply
      7. sara

        This doesn’t surprise me. When I recently visited my husband in the hospital after a medical procedure, and a friend after she had given birth, I just walked right up and went into their room. There was no one checking to make sure I was supposed to be there. My sense was that perhaps they’ve loosened visitor policies to make people feel more comfortable with visiting (and for me, it was convenient in both places), but I can see how it would be annoying if you don’t want visitors!

        Reply
        1. BeautifulVoid

          I had the opposite experience with our local hospital (which I guess I should be thankful for). My twins were born two months early and spent seven weeks in the NICU. We were given wristbands with ID numbers when they were born and they had to stay on until the babies were discharged. I swear, every single weeknight for seven weeks, the same exact evening receptionist stopped my husband and me to ask us where we were going. (We’d usually just wave our wrists around and continue to the elevators without breaking stride.)

          Though to be fair, when I went during the day, if it was busy, I could slip right past the reception desk to the elevators without anyone noticing. But there was a second reception desk on the labor and delivery floor and if the receptionist wasn’t around to buzz us in, there was an intercom on the locked doors. I don’t think security is that tight on the other floors, though.

          Reply
          1. Mary

            My daughter gets treatment in an oncology ward, a private area off the children’s ward. My SIL and her son were in the children’s ward perhaps one of the first days my daughter was getting treatment. My SIL is very well known there as her child is pretty unwell and she asked to visit my daughter and husband. The nurse checked with my husband who said, No, and that was the end of it. So even though she knew we were in a room just behind the double doors, and she was very well known there, and they knew we were related it is up to the patient to make the final decision and permission was asked and not given. The nurses are there to protect the patients.

            Reply
          2. TychaBrahe

            That’s a bit different. No one has ever attempted to walk into an infusion room and walk out with a chemo patient that wasn’t theirs.

            Reply
          3. Specialk9

            Babies are a totally different rule. They are tagged and if they pass certain highly marked lines, the alarms go off. Chemo patients don’t get alarm bracelets, and the halls aren’t alarmed.

            Reply
      8. Xelle

        The clinic I go to for mammograms has a setup where you can’t get anywhere past the lobby without being ushered through one of two locked doors by an employee.

        I also used to work in a building that also housed a dialysis clinic. Similarly, you couldn’t get past the lobby without getting through a locked door that a doctor/nurse/receptionist had to open for you from the other side.

        This chemo clinic needs better security and more diligent employees, but mostly, the OP needs to get out of that company or take it to someone higher than Robert. The fact that their office’s single HR person is related to the manager…that’s a recipe for dissater right there and a huge red flag for an HR department that doesn’t do its job.

        Reply
    2. TCO

      OP, this might be escalation you can’t afford to take (if it puts your job at risk), but you could ask the clinic management to have Ned trespassed from the clinic. That should prevent him from setting foot on their property.

      Reply
      1. The Strand

        Once OP is in a place to move on (new job, new insurance maybe)? I would not be surprised if ex-boss Ned kept trying to bother her (“Oh, but I need this additional information.”).

        Reply
    3. drefujep

      So every time you’re off and having chemo, some work-related issues come up that require your attention? This never happens if you’re off and not scheduled to receive chemo? If so, his behavior is exceedingly bizarre and HR should take a much more serious interest in this issue.

      Is it possible to change your online calendar so when you’re off, there’s no indication that you are or are not receiving chemo?

      Reply
      1. AMG

        I would suggest going around HR, since they obviously can’t be reasonable. I am just furious for you. I hope you get a new job once this is all over.

        Reply
      2. pixelwhipped

        Seriously. When I first saw the headline, my thought was this was going to be a bumbling doofus ignorant of boundaries because HOLY COW, how could anyone be so callous as for it to be anything else? But then I see that it’s happened so much that he knows his intrusions are unwanted, knows the nurses have been instructed to deny him entry, and so he WAITS UNTIL LW IS UNATTENDED? And then threaten to fire them? (Which, given the circumstances, feels close enough to a threat on their life reading that made me nauseous.)

        I feel like Ned has some weird, vindictive resentment motivating his actions here.

        Reply
      3. Koko

        Yes, it seems to me like there’s no reason for there to be anything at all on your calendar on the days you’re off, other than “OP Out of Office.” It’s your day off, they don’t need to know which part of the day you’re at home and which part you’re at the clinic.

        Reply
        1. Kyrielle

          Except that if this is a regular appointment every week, always on OP’s day off, the calendar may only say that (or not say anything at all), and Ned can still figure it out pretty trivially….

          Reply
          1. OhNo

            I can’t help but wonder if he’s showed up at the clinic when the OP is not there. Would the OP even know? Would the clinic be aware that he was there, or can he just waltz in, look around for OP, and waltz back out again unimpeded?

            OP, if it’s not a struggle or an imposition, can you change your appointment time or day? It’s something you shouldn’t have to do, but if management and HR are being this completely unreasonable, you might want to see if it’s an option to maintain your privacy.

            Reply
    4. Specialk9

      Also contact state attorneys general for HIPAA violations. (Not a lawyer, but check out below)

      “The Health Information Technology for Clinical and Economic Health (HITECH) Act, part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, gave State Attorneys General the authority to bring civil actions on behalf of state residents for violations of the HIPAA Privacy and Security Rules. The HITECH Act permits State Attorneys General to obtain damages on behalf of state residents or to enjoin further violations of the HIPAA Privacy and Security Rules.”

      https://www.hhs.gov/hipaa/for-professionals/compliance-enforcement/state-attorneys-general/index.html

      Reply
  2. embertine

    And I think I speak for us all when I say, YIKES. Best wishes for your recovery and subsequent job hunt, LW.

    Reply
  3. Kit

    Aaaaaah OP, I am so angry on your behalf. So angry. This is not okay and I can’t believe it’s happening to you. Please keep us updated.

    Reply
  4. F.

    WTF?! We have a new contender for Worst Boss of the Year! This ranks right up there with the guy who was trying to extort a liver for his ill brother.

    Reply
    1. Tuckerman

      Seriously. This is the first letter I’ve read here that has made me feel physically ill. My hope is that OP recovers fully and swiftly and can go work for a much saner organization. Which honestly, could be ANY organization.

      Reply
      1. Petronella

        I had the same reaction, this is the first letter I’ve read here that made me want to cry. LW, Please, please make the clinic staff do their job and not allow Ned in there again. I’m disgusted that they allowed it to happen more than once.

        Reply
        1. Koko

          Yes…reading this made my heart ache for OP. Of all the things to have to deal with on top of fighting cancer :(

          Reply
      1. Rachel

        I know, right? At this rate we’re going to have something like 20 finalists at the end of the year.

        Reply
    2. Juli G.

      I’m actually leaning towards this guy. At least Liver Guy is probably acting terribly out of duress/grief/anger/stress. This guy is just a freaking douche.

      Reply
      1. Wendy Darling

        Also Liver Guy is not imposing horribly on the sick person, he’s “just” hassling his employees. Tracking someone down outside of work and showing up on their day off is already Worst Boss territory — doing it while the person is actually having chemo elevates it to a whole new plane of horrible.

        Reply
        1. nonegiven

          Yes, liver guy is imposing on sick people, pregnant people, recovering people who would not be a candidate, anyway.

          Reply
        2. Annoymouse

          Hassle – fire and leave people destitute in a poor job market – same difference right?

          I think liver guy is worse and this guy is a close second.

          Reply
      2. SystemsLady

        At least organ donation standards let the employees stop the harassment by taking the appointment, saying “I was forced to be here and have no interest in donating a liver”, and leaving.

        (HIPAA should protect OP here too, but Ned is trying to circumvent it in a way liver boss couldn’t)

        That I just said that preceded by “at least” is everything wrong with these types of bosses.

        Reply
    3. Shell

      Yes, this!

      I mean, really, what the ever loving…?! I thought the liver donor boss was the worst tool of 2016, but this Ned is a high contender as well. (Alison, perhaps adding the “jerks” tag?)

      Reply
        1. UK Nerd

          2016 is being written by George R R Martin. That’s why all authority figures are terrible and all your favourite characters have died.

          Reply
            1. UK Nerd

              There are characters with pet wolves (well, direwolves). At least some of them are still alive. In the show they’re played by real wolves, supersized in post-production.

              Reply
    4. Sarah from Long Island

      Yes, this. I thought the same thing! These two guys are running neck and neck for the win. “WTF” doesn’t cover this disgusting behavior. This is just wrong on soooooooooo many levels. You not only have one idiot acting up, but also the idiot above him, the nepotistic-sounding HR department, and the medical clinic that cannot handle keeping this idiot out of the clinic.

      My head is reeling for the OP/LW and her situation. Ned has threatened her job… which she needs for the health benefits…. And losing those benefits is not an option when you are sick and undergoing chemo. It all feels very circus-like. It would be really awesome if we could demand the universe to balance this ludicrous nonsense out at once…. I wish the OP a fast resolution to this lunacy…. Because, her improved health and recovery should not be hindered by a total, complete a**hat of a manager.

      Reply
  5. Caledonia

    I am both horrified at your workplace AND the clinic in equal measures. It’s disgusting you have to deal with this when you’re sick.
    Also, who hangs around a medical clinic when they don’t have to!?

    I wish you well in your recovery, OP.

    Reply
    1. MK

      “who hangs around a medical clinic when they don’t have to!?”

      Well, that’s probably why they aren’t more strict about people going in; keeping people away is not their usual problem.

      Reply
      1. Liz

        Except that these are immuno-suppressed people who shouldn’t be exposed to random people walking in off the street with who knows what on their clothes, let alone what viral or bacterial load they might be carrying.

        Reply
  6. IT_Guy

    If the bozo boss’s actions are affecting your health in such a manner that you cannot take your treatment effectively, I would think that this would be actionable in a civil suit sort of way.

    Reply
  7. ZSD

    This is horrendous, and I’m sorry you’re facing this.
    On the clinic side of the problem, could the clinic post flyers with Ned’s picture clearly notifying staff (including security) that Ned is not to be admitted to the clinic? I’ve seen similar flyers in various places before, but I’m not sure if you have to have a restraining order or some other legal action first for that to be an option.

    Reply
      1. The OP

        They like to keep the doors open whether I am in a private room or not, but they can curtain me off. I hate how it makes me feel all stuffy (if that makes any sense) but the one time I was curtained he came in anyways.

        Reply
        1. Jinx

          I just… What the… What? Words. I have none of them. This is so unbelievably creepy and out of bounds that I don’t even know how someone could possibly think it’s acceptable. The hospital absolutely has a responsibility to work with you to keep this guy out of your room during treatment, open door or no. The key thing is that you don’t want him there.

          I hope you find a lawyer and get money from these people, because honestly, this is nuts.

          Reply
        2. Adonday Veeah

          Wait… how did he know what curtain you were behind? Did someone at the clinic tell him, or did he just open curtains until he found you?

          This is…

          wow…

          Reply
          1. 42

            Did he have to open SEVERAL curtains until he found yours?????

            I’m seething at this, OP. No slow burn, this was rapid incineration. I hope he gets his balls handed to him over this. PLEASE update.

            Reply
        3. KR

          He just opened the curtain? What if you have a chest port and were shirtless? What a tool. And I get it about the stuffiness.

          Reply
        4. Episkey

          Well, it’s too bad what they “like” — they are obviously not doing a good job of keeping out this jackass, so I think you can insist they put you in a private room with a locked door.

          Reply
        5. TL -

          Oh, you definitely need to have a talk with the clinic manager, your doctor, and whoever is managing the nurses. A strongly-worded, HIPAA-invoking, patient rights talk.

          Also, I’m so sorry this is happening to you.

          Reply
          1. Dot Warner

            This x100,000!!! Escalate to the nurse manager, the clinic manager, the doctor, and if your clinic is part of a larger health system (e.g. Kaiser), see if you can find the clinic manager’s boss. HIPAA violations result in 6 figure fines and patients being harassed results in huge lawsuits; your healthcare facility will do whatever they can to avoid both.

            Also, OP, do you have a friend – preferably a large, intimidating person – who can accompany you to your treatments? It’d be good to have someone like that around to help throw Ned out, since clinic security is clearly lax.

            Reply
            1. OhNo

              Heck, it doesn’t even need to be someone intimidating – just have someone around who is able and willing to kick up an almighty ruckus whenever they see him where he should not be. There’s nothing like causing a big, public commotion in front of other patients/customers to make management sit up and pay attention.

              Also, I’m willing to bet that having someone (who can’t be threatened with being fired) confront him would at least give Ned pause about continuing to do this.

              Reply
        6. blushingflower

          Do you have any friends or family who might be willing to sit with you while you’re getting your treatments, and act as a buffer to Ned? Either by making it so that you can’t have any more visitors or just telling him to back off.

          Reply
          1. Sunshine

            This. If this was happening to one of my familt members, I would absolutely be willing to act as bouncer for the day. That little weasel would be in tears before I was done with him.

            Flames.

            Reply
            1. OhNo

              Same. Actually, now I kind of wish they were, because boy would I like to give Ned a piece of my mind. Preferably at length and high volume.

              Reply
            2. Chinook

              OP- I hope it warms your heart that there is a Chocolate Teapot Security Team ready and willing to be your Ned bouncer. One word and you will be surrounded by all sorts of angry people who would be willing to man handle him out the door while handing him his “worst boss of the year” award.

              Reply
              1. Captain Bigglesworth

                I’m not terribly intimidating physically, but I really want to rip into this guy. Can we have two teams of security – physical and verbal?

                Reply
                1. nutella fitzgerald

                  I’m not physically intimidating, either, but I can get very, very shrill at any New Jersey clinic, OP!

    1. Specialk9

      In my big corporate workplace, you don’t need an actual restraining order, you just quietly notify Security about someone who might be a threat and needs to be kept out, and if you need an escort to your car at night. No “proof” needed. YMMV.

      Reply
  8. fposte

    Good God. OP, this is horrible, and your employer sucks.

    At the hospital, I’d prioritize contacting the patient ombudsperson/practice manager at the facility and noting there’s been a repeated violation here and that you really expect this not to happen again. A HIPAA complaint is absolutely legit (though I don’t think it affords any relief for patients, just discipline and fines for the institution), but I think it has less potential for early correction of the problem.

    Reply
    1. Joseph

      HIPAA violations are very serious – Enough so that if you call the clinic’s practice manager or legal department and specifically name drop “potential HIPAA violation”, they’ll fall all over themselves to make sure this never happens again.

      I also have to wonder how he’s “sneaking back”. Maybe things are different in different parts of the country, but almost every doctor’s office I’ve ever visited has the door between the waiting area and the “patient area” locked so one of the staff has to open the door from the inside to let people (even patients) inside.

      Reply
      1. Cafe au Lait

        Or his misrepresenting himself to the staff. i.e. “I’m here with Letter Writer.” Most individuals would say “I’m Letter Writer’s spouse/fiance(e), boyfriend.”

        Reply
      2. fposte

        I was thinking of reporting to HHS–I’m glad to hear that reporting the violation to the facility tends to get speedy action. That definitely sounds like a better idea.

        (The facilities around me are short of locking doors, so I think this might be a YMMV situation.)

        Reply
      3. Navy Vet

        I’d also recommend making a list of authorized people for the clinic… your dear “friend” Ned is most likely misrepresenting about who is.

        In the meantime, I will send you healing vibes….Here’s to a quick recovery and speedy job hunt ;)

        Reply
        1. Mallory Janis Ian

          The clinics I’ve been to have paperwork on which they formally ask the patient who is permitted to receive information about them and who is allowed to visit them. They also always have a space for anyone who is not permitted to visit. This clinic has something wrong with it!

          Reply
      4. Kittymommy

        I have never worked in a medical office where the door was locked. Having said that, the same offices also never took the word of the visitor. If, big if, we even acknowledged there was a patient by that name, we verified with them that the visitor was welcome to come back, then they were escorted to the room.

        Reply
        1. JessaB

          The only one I’ve ever been in with locked doors is a pain management clinic, because of possible theft of drugs and such. But usually no. Most clinics don’t.

          Reply
          1. JessaB

            ETA heck even in the local ER where the Friday Night Knife and Gun Club end up (it’s the local Trauma centre,) where they have an armed guard and a metal detector, nobody asks for proof of who I am or checks to see if I’m authorised if Mr B is in the ER and I say “I’m his wife, and I want to go back and see him.”

            The only thing they monitor is two people at a time and they give you a badge to whatever ER bay the person is in. But even with actual law enforcement they don’t even ask me to prove I’m his next of kin. Or call back to the nurse’s desk and ask if I can go through. It’s pretty easy to get past gatekeepers in medicine, even with the privacy laws. They count on the fact that most strangers would not know who to ask for. Because except in weird cases like this absolutely worst. Boss. Ever. You really have to know the location and the name of the person.

            But unless you really lean on them, nobody really checks (except at that locked door pain clinic, they actually checked the accounts to see who is allowed by the patient, again because of prescriptions for controlled substances.)

            On the other hand once you actually notify them, they have an even bigger duty than they used to, to make sure that the person does not get in EVER. So I give the clinic ONE mistake about this guy because he knows what to say and 99% of people that know what to say are legit. But now they’re on notice, so no they do not get a second chance at that.

            Reply
      5. themmases

        I agree, in my experience you can get very swift cooperation with a legitimate (or even possibly legitimate) mention of HIPAA. Health care organizations take it very seriously, as they should. Violations expose both the individual worker and the covered entity to both civil and criminal penalties.

        Based on what the OP has shared about this clinic’s lack of cooperation, they may want to see if they can switch. Health care organizations are consolidating and other clinics in the OP’s area may be under the same umbrella so that they could change locations without leaving the organization and their doctor. IME hospitals have better security because they are bigger and have the staff, and they are dealing with more situations such as trauma, inpatients, etc. that require them to keep an eye on visitors. They are also more likely to be able to accommodate the OP in a private or locking room outside the regular clinic because they are probably already doing this for inpatients who may not be able to be moved.

        Because Ned is threatening the OP’s job, they should also be looking at their other health care options now. It sounds like the OP is in the US if their insurance is tied to their job. If they want to stay with this health care organization, they should start the conversation now about what health care marketplace plans the organization will accept, and decide whether they can afford a month or two of COBRA to ease the transition. If the OP is seriously worried for their job and has open enrollment coming up, they may even want to take the initiative to switch. Just because Ned is in the wrong, doesn’t mean that OP’s coverage couldn’t be disrupted for a while if he suddenly encounters effective security and fires the OP.

        Reply
    2. Tuxedo Cat

      I second this. Your first concern is yourself, of course, but I’m just sitting here and thinking of so many possibilities where this situation could get dangerous for other people.

      Reply
  9. Chocolate lover

    Ned is beyond atrocious, and the company/HR is no better for letting it go. I thought the same thing Alison mentioned – do they also show up at other people’s homes or other locations outside the office? Cause contrary to HR’s comment, if my boss showed up at my home or medical facility, barring some kind of emergency, I’d certainly “advise them otherwise”!!!!

    Reply
  10. my two cents

    But no one decided that Ned was the one at fault for the receptionist providing the info under extreme duress and under threat of termination?!

    How the heck does Ned still have a freakin’ job?!

    Reply
      1. fposte

        Probably not in the U.S. She wasn’t fired for any protected category or activity. Despite what it sounds like, “wrongful termination” doesn’t mean being fired for totally unfair reasons–it’s just if you’re breaching the few laws that limit termination.

        Reply
        1. fposte

          Actually, now that I think about it, the medical privacy under the ADA thing could make this wrongful, but I doubt it would be a slam dunk, and you might have a hard time finding an attorney to take it on contingency.

          Reply
          1. my two cents

            Receptionist might be able to do something only because they FORCED her to violate confidentiality under threat of termination, and then terminated her for doing what they demanded.

            Reply
            1. fposte

              Only if it’s truly deemed a violation of the ADA–violating office policy gets you no cover. But you still have to find a lawyer and win a case (or, more likely, get a settlement), which usually takes a lot to be worth it.

              Reply
              1. my two cents

                Though maybe a very strongly worded letter on legal letterhead to their HR about forcing Osha to violate ADA/HIPAA might be enough to get her some severance (not settlement) after the fact.

                Reply
                1. fposte

                  Yes, if I were Osha, I might try this, as you can often get a letter written pretty cheaply. The bridge is already burned, after all.

          2. Stephanie (HR)

            I don’t believe the ADA covers the person who revealed the information (even under threat of termination.) There is all sorts of coverage for the OP, but not Osha. I believe that the best bet would be to go the Unemployment route and sue for unemployment. Depending on the state, and depending on some other technicalities, this is the kind of thing Unemployment covers.

            For the record (my two cents mentioned this in a later reply), employers do not operate under any HIPAA laws. Only the healthcare providers have obligations under HIPAA.

            Reply
    1. ZSD

      Perhaps he threatened to fire them if they fired him? Threat of firing seems to have been a successful tactic for him in the past.

      Reply
        1. Jadelyn

          I’m picturing a pistols-at-dawn standoff, where instead of turning and shooting at each other, they both yell “YOU’RE FIRED” and the onlookers have to decide who spoke first.

          Reply
    2. AvonLady Barksdale

      To me, this is the saddest part of this situation. The OP’s situation is horrible, don’t get me wrong, and it makes me furious– but the poor receptionist losing her job like that! Ugh. I hope she finds a better place soon, and I really wish she could file a wrongful termination case against them. I am not a lawyer, however, so I just hope she lands on her feet quickly

      Reply
      1. The OP

        This was upsetting to me too. I in no way blamed her when I talked to Robert, all my complaints were only about Ned. She told me she doesn’t blame me for what happened but I still feel so guilty. She’s having a hard time getting unemployment too, because the company says she was insubordinate and violated policy.

        Reply
        1. Mike C.

          What state are you in? I can’t believe that unemployment is being contested when the action taken was taken under the express duress of being fired to begin with!

          Reply
          1. Kelly L.

            Right! And it’s somehow insubordinate to…give in when your boss is browbeating you? That’s kind of the definition of not insubordinate.

            Reply
            1. Jadelyn

              Catch-22. If she’d held her ground, she’d have been fired and the company would’ve claimed insubordination. By giving in, she got fired and the company claimed insubordination.

              I hope she gives the state unemployment office the full story with all the details.

              Reply
          2. MK

            It’s possible that they are disputing that (that she acted under duress) too. After all, Ned could claim that she gave him the information willingly and is ony saying he threatened her when the OP took issue with that.

            Reply
        2. JennG

          OP, your feelings are commendable but this so is not about your actions. It is absolutely the fault of crazy crazy people and an unreasonable workplace, and not to do with your legitimately raising a concern about behaviour that just about everyone in the world would understand is beyond the pale.

          Reply
        3. The Strand

          Are you kidding me?!

          Insubordinate when they forced her to give up that information, and that psychopath boss of yours insists on continuing to bother you during chemo?

          Wow, is there anything that can be done to bolster her claim for UI at least?

          Reply
        4. Rusty Shackelford

          But if it was insubordinate for her to give the information, how was it not even more so for Ned to threaten her for it, and use it?

          Reply
          1. Kelly L.

            Right?

            “Watchdog, you’re insubordinate for letting the fox get past you into the henhouse. You’re fired. Fox, you’re the new watchdog. Have at it.”

            Reply
          1. The Alias Gloria is Living Under, A.A., B.S.

            I agree. Maybe, if you’re willing, you could write a letter or speak to the person handling her case with the unemployment office.

            Reply
            1. The Strand

              That was the only thing I could come up with that OP could do to help her, talk to Unemployment directly. Unless someone else knows another way to bolster the poor receptionist in her fight. OP, I am so sorry you’re dealing with this while also dealing with your illness.

              Reply
            2. Stranger than fiction

              Totally! She could corroborate Oshas story by letting them know how he insists on visiting her at her chemi sessions and that’s why he pressured her.

              Reply
          2. OhNo

            If this is a possibility, that might be the best way to help Osha. I don’t know if unemployment proceedings allow references/witnesses, but if they do that would be a great thing to do for her.

            Actually, OP, you might also want to offer to be a reference for her in her next job search, too. It sounds like your workplace isn’t going to do her any favors, so being (apparently) one of the few reasonable people there, you could offer to speak to her work.

            Reply
        5. Kyrielle

          Hmmm. But Ned _also_ clearly violated policy – he was not supposed to have the info (then) and clearly did (because he used it).

          He has not been terminated.

          Therefore, they do not consider this policy serious enough for termination…I wonder how much of a case she could build out of that?

          A letter from you with your understanding of what happened, both up to and (regarding Ned) after her firing, might help her.

          Reply
        6. LQ

          It is really important for her to lay out what happened in a clear and unemotional way. They were going to fire her no matter what she did. If she didn’t violate company policy Ned was going to fire her. If she did they were going to fire her. The threat to fire her if she didn’t do it needs to be very clear in her documentation.

          (I was actually kind of worried about this when it came up, this might be a harder unemployment case because they can say, oh she violated policy, which is usually one of the reasons that someone might not get unemployment when they get fired (your state may vary). She should do whatever the appeals process is and push up. She needs to give as much factual detail as she can.)

          Don’t feel guilty. This is a really horrible situation but nothing you would have done would have changed this. Robert and Ned and HR are the people who are guilty of being horrible.

          Reply
        7. Elizabeth West

          Robert is a dick.
          Ned is a SUPER dick.
          HR is a dick.
          I feel bad for Osha, but it is so not your fault, OP.

          I hope you can find a way to stop this insane crap quickly and that you have a speedy recovery. I’ll be glad to ninja-kick him if you like. Virtually, of course. *or not*

          Reply
        8. Jaydee

          Unless she has significant savings or another source of household income (like a spouse with a good salary) she is probably eligible for help from the legal aid organization in your area. You can find contact info at http://www.lsc.gov. Encourage her to contact them if she wants advice about her unemployment claim or if she is denied unemployment and needs help with an appeal.

          Reply
    3. Pete

      Receptionist: Revealed confidential Information – Fired
      Asst. Manager: Threatened Receptionist to get her to reveal info – not fired.

      If the receptionist is part of ANY protected class, I’d expect a lawsuit to be painful for the company. “Your honor, they terminated the minority client for a breach of policy, but not the white male who forced her to do so.”

      Reply
      1. Specialk9

        Receptionist: Revealed private information – Fired
        Asst. Manager: Threatened Receptionist to get her to reveal info, then misused private information, trespassed and stalked and harassed employee on days off – not fired.

        Reply
  11. Daisy Steiner

    Maybe I’m misunderstanding the situation, but how does Ned know your appointment times? Access to your work schedule should only give him your days off, not the time you’re at the clinic. Do chemotherapy appointments take all day, so he’s bound to run into you no matter what? Does he just hang around on the off-chance you’ll turn up? If it’s the second, that seems like a really bad use of HIS paid employment time.

    Reply
    1. Faith

      Chemo appointments can take a few hours, so there’s at least a good chance Ned can catch OP at the clinic. But the fact that the clinic is letting it happen is BEYOND words. I would be raising all sorts of hell there.

      Reply
      1. Sunshine

        I would be finding a new clinic if at all possible. And I would let my insurance company know why.

        Reply
    2. Miss Kitty Fantastico

      Yeah, unfortunately in my experience chemo appointments take all day or at the absolute least a half day – you’re getting an infusion that needs to be given slowly, not just a shot or a pill. I’d either have 8-hour or 4-hour infusions for different drugs, plus there’s always a little bit of a wait before and after to be cleared by a nurse before you can start/leave.

      Reply
      1. Daisy Steiner

        Ah, so he wouldn’t need a specific appointment time to be sure of finding the OP there. I understand.

        Reply
    3. anonderella

      I think this might be like an Outlook calendar, or something similar, where you can see every hour of the day if someone has something scheduled. People often put details on these calendar events like the name of the event, location, and phone numbers of conference calls, etc.

      If it is this kind of system, OP could you mark the appointment as private, so Ned/others doesn’t have permission to see details for that specific appointment?

      Reply
      1. Ask a Manager Post author

        Or make the appointments specific but misleading — hair appointment, pottery class, golf tournament — complete with addresses and send Ned on a wild goose chase looking for her in all those locations.

        Reply
          1. Snork Maiden

            I do too. OP, make sure to sign up for the 12 week intensive rice sculpture class. In a town two hours’ drive away. I hear it’s amazing.

            Reply
        1. Elizabeth West

          You can also make them private in Outlook so nobody sees anything but a block on your calendar. But I wouldn’t put any appointments I make for my days off on my work calendar.

          Reply
        2. Elizabeth the Ginger

          It’s childish of me, and I wouldn’t actually do it, but I’d be tempted to put “Appointment with Not Ned” on my calendar. Location: “Not Near Ned.” Attendees: “Not Ned.”

          Reply
  12. KR

    WHAT WHAT WHAT WHAT WHAT WHAT WHAT WHAT WHAT WHAT WHAT WHAT WHAT WHAT WHAT
    I am so sorry, OP. Good luck. I wish benefits weren’t tied in with employment for you so you could tell this guy to f__ off, because he deserves it and I think any sane interviewer would understand.
    Also, what do you usually do when he breaks into the clinic? Here’s a script: “Ned, what are you doing here? There’s a port pumping radiation into me and tons of people everywhere with weakened immune systems that DON’T NEED YOUR BULLSHIT. “

    Reply
    1. auntie_cipation

      Agreed.

      I would even go so far as to encourage the OP to be actively “too out of it” to be able to give any useful answers to any work questions asked at the clinic.

      Not to suggest in any way that it isn’t 100% Ned who’s being inappropriate, but just as a way to add discouragement to his actions.

      Don’t give him what he’s there for. In fact, depending on the potential consequences, maybe even give him wrong information!

      It shouldn’t even have to come to that, of course, but since it sounds like it is anyway…

      Reply
        1. Elizabeth A

          Chemo very seldom makes people queasy these days – they’re aggressive with the anti-nausea meds – but one of the common medications given *with* chemo is benadryl.

          I had chemo. I would not want to have been asked to stand by any statements I made while receiving my treatments.

          Reply
          1. Mononymous

            I receive a (non-chemo) med infusion every six weeks, also given with benadryl, and I absolutely agree with this. I tend to think I make sense, but I’ve really swapped some of my words with ones that sound similar but mean something completely different from what I’m trying to communicate. My husband finds it hilarious, but work probably wouldn’t.

            If OP wanted to try playing up the loopy benadryl effects, it might discourage Ned on the basis of not getting any useful info at all. Of course, it might just piss him off enough to make him double down on his bad behavior instead.

            Reply
        2. Joan Callamezzo

          Having been through a lot of chemo myself, I was going to suggest it might be worth it to forego the anti-nausea meds and vomit copiously on Ned when he shows up, but pretending to be even more stoned than you already are and burbling word salad at him until he goes away would be more subtle and less uncomfortable.

          What. A. Jackass. Agree with the suggestion above to go to the clinic manager/patient ombudsman and making it clear he is not to be let into your room again, nor given any information whatsoever, not even confirmation that you are or ever have been a patient there.

          Reply
    2. AdminMeow

      Your first sentence summed up my feelings about this whole situation rather nicely. I would probably use that script, after the HR email, and then just wait for him to terminate me so I could sue the everliving bejesus out of him…then I’d take it to the media.

      Reply
    3. I'm a Little Teapot

      This kind of crap is one of the many, many reasons we need single-payer health care, not tied to employment at all. Ned is essentially threatening OP’s life! No one should have that kind of power over someone else. Ned can demand anything and the OP basically has to comply.

      Reply
      1. Jeoffrey

        Ned is being an absolute jerk, but he isn’t threatening anyone’s life. COBRA means the OP will be able to continue her treatments, and the Affordable Care Act means she can get insurance even after COBRA runs out. If she finds herself without a job or income, Medicaid exists to ensure she can still receive adequate medical care .

        Lets not turn this into hyperbole for a political debate when the reality is that this guy is just being a donkeyhole.

        Reply
        1. Cafe au Lait

          Uh, do you know how much COBRA costs? When I left my last job, COBRA was more than my new monthly salary. I’m not going to speak to the Affordable Care Act since I don’t know much about it, but I know while it’s affordable, there are several tiers of health care plans with increasing costs.

          Reply
        2. Kyrielle

          What Cafe au Lait said, and having to switch to ACA or Medicaid may create a period in which the OP doesn’t have known coverage (you can usually get coverage ‘retroactive’ to the time that you lost your previous coverage I think? but you won’t have proof of your new coverage right away), and if in the meanwhile OP has trouble continuing treatment because insurance is up in the air – that’s a very real problem.

          Also, depending on alternate incomes, OP may in fact also need this job (which OP is _able to do on their scheduled working days!_) in order to pay bills, such as rent or groceries.

          And…if OP has already passed their maximum out of pocket for the year on this plan (not at all inconceivable with cancer treatments!) starting a new plan would also introduce a new maximum OOP that had to be paid, and OP may already be at their financial edge; we don’t know.

          Reply
          1. i'm anon

            Yes, or OP doesn’t want to start over with a new deductible.

            Most people on insurance plans with very high deductibles are not financially able to pony up the cash to meet said deductible.

            Reply
            1. JAM

              Yes, this is a big deal. For me I had to have my chemo span two different calendar years so it was two different deductibles which sucked. To have to do it because of a crazy employer would make it suck even more.

              Reply
        3. i'm anon

          You do not have to take COBRA when you lose job-based coverage; you can go directly to the Marketplace at Healthcare dot gov and buy an “Obamacare” plan right away.

          However, both COBRA and Marketplace plans can be exorbitantly expensive, and Medicaid in non-expansion states is not available to adults who aren’t pregnant women or certain kinds of disabled adults with very low incomes.

          Reply
          1. Koko

            Yep, COBRA is the full price of your premiums, and it’s typical for the employer to cover 90% of the cost of employee premiums.

            Oh, you don’t have employer-provided health insurance anymore? Then surely you can afford to pay ten times what you used to pay for health insurance. Unemployment is known as a period of financial abundance.

            Reply
        4. Jenna

          COBRA is often about as much as a rent check(depending on rent where you are) and marketplace plans still cost money. Not all states have accepted the expanded Medicaid so it isn’t available everywhere.

          Every thing in this letter is horrible.
          I was so fortunate that I had friends who could come with me to chemo, and if this had happened to me Ned would have been shown the door immediately. Unfortunately, with the layout of the chemotherapy room, it would be hard to prevent someone like that from getting into the area. A private room, a nurse that knows the problem, a “do not disturb ” sign, and a bouncer friend sound like the only real solution for the disturbance.
          A lawyer and a harassment claim might be the only stick he will care about though.
          I am so sorry this is happening!

          Reply
      2. mander

        Seriously. It’s the single most screwed up aspect of our health care system, IMHO. COBRA etc are inaccessible for most people in reality.

        Reply
          1. AutumnMoonfire

            It’s odd as hell, but when I left my job the cobra came in at less than buying a similar policy through my husband’s business and we didn’t have to abandon our deductibles as a result. It’s a high deductible policy though so that could be why. I don’t know what will happen two years down the road when cobra dies.

            Reply
  13. Penelope Pitstop

    Good advice about invoking the clinic. I’m so, so sorry and sad that this is something you even have to think about, much less deal with. I can’t even that there are presumably sentient human beings that would compromise your physical, emotional and financial health when you’re vulnerable and in treatment. I hope that in every part of your life goodness and good people just pour in from all directions to overflowing with kindnesses big and small. Best wishes for you in every way and on every front.

    Reply
  14. LQ

    This is incredible. I think there is also value in making sure that you know what your health insurance options are without this company. Especially since they are showing just the worst judgement and making veiled threats. I think knowing your options will help put your mind at ease a bit.

    I hope you manage to get this resolved smoothly so you don’t have this on your mind while trying to recover. Good luck.

    Reply
      1. Kyrielle

        Or go to the exchange – if OP is in the US, it’s not open enrollment now, but losing your coverage because you lost your job would be a qualifying life-changing event.

        But really, it’s Ned and Robert who should be unemployed about now.

        Reply
        1. LQ

          I totally agree about those two, but the company isn’t exactly shown to be reasonable in their handling of things, so I’d have a good handle on what that back up is. The exchange would be good.

          Reply
        2. ZuKeeper

          As others have said, COBRA and the exchange are NOT all that affordable, as I found out last year. COBRA was ridiculous, and the “affordable” insurance was no where near affordable when I was unemployed.

          Reply
          1. Koko

            I worked for a very small nonprofit several years ago that rather than get a group plan, just gave us a cash health benefit that we could use to buy insurance or other medical care of our choosing. I was in my mid-20s, nonsmoker, healthy…and my monthly premium was around $250. That was for a no-frills PPO that had a $25 in-network copay and 20% coinsurance/coRx with a $500 annual deductible before their share kicked in. (My employer-sponsored plan now is $20, 10%, and $0, for comparison.)

            Luckily employer was still actually paying that for me. I can only imagine what the premiums would have been if I had been in my 40s or 50s.

            Reply
          2. Kyrielle

            Not saying it’s affordable, just saying the OP may have to research it.

            I want Ned & Robert & the HR idiot out on their ears, but I am not at all sure that will happen, and if the OP knows what is and isn’t possible in the exchange, well, knowledge isn’t always power but it at least removes an unknown.

            I wish I were more optimistic because really, in any reasonable world/company, OP should be _fine_ and these idiots should be _gone_.

            Reply
  15. K.

    I legit teared up with anger while reading this. This is awful. Battling cancer is excruciating in and of itself, and on top of that you have to put up with this foolishness? I’m so sorry.

    Take every legal action available to you. Speak to the highest-ranking person at your clinic and tell her she is not to permit this fool to enter the building; he is not family, and any claims otherwise are lies. Invoke HIPAA. I might throw in claims of stalking here, but I don’t know the legalities of that.

    I wish you a quick return to good health, and I’m so sorry you’re going through this – all of it.

    Reply
    1. JMegan

      Absolutely. It won’t fix OP’s situation, but if she (OP) can provide a reference for the receptionist, that would be one small way the two of them could take control here.

      OP, this is so, so, so awful. I’m sorry you’re dealing with it, and I hope both the cancer and your terrible employment situation have a good outcome, and soon.

      Reply
  16. GigglyPuff

    I know nothing about chemotherapy but is it possible to move the times of your appointment to different parts of the day (if they were regular before)? That way Ned shouldn’t be able to predict what times you’ll be at the clinic (or maybe even switch clinics?). I’m hoping on the calendar when you have a day off, it literally just says that “OP out”, not the actual appointments.

    Also, WTF clinic, every single doctor’s office I’ve been to, makes you fill out the form where you list people who are okay to come looking for you during your appointment. This office should be pulling that form and checking his ID. I mean, WTF?

    Reply
    1. GigglyPuff

      I’m also wondering if there’s someone else in HR to contact? Like the HR manager? That’s who I would send the e-mail Alison recommended.

      Reply
      1. Laurel Gray

        What person with any reasonable HR background from generalist all the way up to counsel would not see how absolutely crazy this is? Is it possible the OP works for a small wacky business or something? For the OP to schedule her chemo appointments around said wackiness is even more wacky!

        Reply
      2. Kittymommy

        Yeah me too. Maybe a CEO or president. I’m trying to think how my companies HR department on even our legal counsel would react to this. I think you’d probably hear the screaming from miles away.

        Reply
  17. Anonymous Poster

    I’m so sorry you’re dealing with this, and I can’t imagine what you’re going through with all this.

    I hope it gets resolved in your favor quickly.

    Reply
  18. TCO

    OP, you could offer to serve as a reference or network contact for Osha if you want to help her out. Her firing is in no way your fault, but I certainly understand that it must feel awful that she got dragged into this and treated so poorly.

    Reply
  19. misspiggy

    Good grief. Is there someone in the OP’s family or friend group who could lawyer-wrangle for her? Surely a stiff legal letter and phone call to the head office of both the OP’s company and the clinic could get the immediate problem stopped. But what can be done to prevent retaliation?

    Reply
  20. Sibley

    OP, next time he shows up at your chemo, ask them to call police. Real police – not security, who may be useless. Insist on filing a police report. (or not, but he totally deserves to be arrested.)

    Reply
  21. Jamie

    I am completely baffled by the headspace that a person must occupy to think that interrupting an employee’s chemotherapy session to ask about work is an acceptable thing to do. Like….how were these people raised? What are their relatives like? Where did they go to school? How did a social norm of this magnitude manage to escape them completely? I have a morbid fascination with the psychological background that breeds this attitude.

    Reply
    1. BadPlanning

      Me too!! Does he think he’s entertaining the OP? Does he think that he’ll shame the OP into not doing chemo and coming back to work? Although the OP isn’t even missing work!

      Reply
      1. misspiggy

        Or… has he taken it upon himself to harass the OP out of her job, out of some kind of fear/hatred of sick people?

        Reply
        1. I'm a Little Teapot

          I’m figuring it’s this – motivated by cost-cutting and “efficiency.” They don’t want someone with cancer on the payroll – they’re afraid of raising their insurance rates and of the illness interfering with OP’s work.

          Reply
          1. misspiggy

            You mean that a typical US company has to pay higher insurance rates if more employees get sick, thus incentivising it to fire or harass people out of a job if they get sick? That’s…. hard to take on board, but totally explains what Ned might be doing.

            Reply
              1. Basiorana

                In my company of 100, just one employee’s premature twin babies caused an enormous spike in healthcare costs. They didn’t pass it on to employees, but it was really hard to absorb into the budget.

                Reply
            1. alter_ego

              Yeah, it’s why those “health initiatives” are so popular at companies, and part of why age discrimination is a thing. Especially for smaller companies, the group rates are determined by the previous years usage, so if you have one or two very expensive employees, then the next years rates are going to go up, and you either have to eat that cost so that your employee’s contribution stays the same, or break it to your employees that their contribution is going to have to go up, effectively resulting in less take-home pay.

              It’s suuuuuuuuuper messed up, and one of the many many MANY reasons that we really need a system that doesn’t tie our insurance to our employment.

              Reply
              1. i'm anon

                Wellness programs are rarely designed to actually improve employees’ health; employers are usually more interested in the fact that they can legally charge non-participants up to 30% more in premiums.

                Reply
            2. I'm a Little Teapot

              Yep. Because our politicians think that it’s probably your fault if you get sick, that no employer should ever be inconvenienced for any reason, and if you’re sick you should have saved up enough money to deal with it on your own without bothering any employer. Yay bootstraps!

              Reply
    2. AdminMeow

      What I wouldn’t give to walk around that person’s mind. My main question being – these aren’t even work emergencies so why does he feel so compelled to go talk to her? WHY?!

      Reply
      1. Christopher Tracy (formerly Doriana Gray)

        Power and control. He wants to show OP who’s boss, hence why he keeps coming back even after she asked him not to. It’s why he threatened Osha’s job when he knew damn well she wasn’t allowed to give out confidential information – he wanted to exert control over the situation to show who’s boss, and asshole Robert cemented this delusional power grab by firing her anyway.

        Reply
        1. TootsNYC

          This is SO true. It’s a massive power play, and it’s totally in keeping with everything he’s done so far.

          And not-often-in-the-office Robert had better watch out!

          Frankly, everyone working there should be job-hunting, because once Ned is done with the control fix he’s getting from the OP, he’s going to go after them.

          Reply
          1. Christopher Tracy (formerly Doriana Gray)

            Yup, people like Ned don’t stop at one person. They keep going to see just how far they can push before someone higher-up steps in and smacks them back down. This was my last boss to the T.

            Reply
        2. many bells down

          OR … is Ned supposed to be at work the days he’s showing up to the clinic? Is this some weird way he’s figured out to get out of actually working? “Oh, I had to consult with Sharon, so I was at the chemo clinic all day.” and then he’s actually doing other stuff half the time.

          Reply
          1. Joan Callamezzo

            I was wondering this too. It sounds like he is taking large chunks of work time out-of-office in order to harass the OP.

            Reply
    3. Adam

      As a psychology major I’d be immensely curious but also slightly terrified of finding out. The sheer selfishness of this schmuck is downright mind-boggling.

      Reply
    4. Elle

      These are honestly good questions that I would love to know the answers to too. Just terrible human beings.

      Reply
    5. Agnes

      I can vaguely imagine thinking , op is having a miserable time and would probably like to be distracted, and getting there and realizing they had nothing to discuss except work. But subsequent events indicate it did not come from a kindly but clueless place.

      Reply
    6. Mike C.

      Lots of bosses see their employees as indentured servants and at their mercy. It’s really not more complicated than that. Health issues? Family emergencies? Who cares, bottom line comes first.

      Reply
    7. L McD

      I know we don’t diagnose people here, but what I want to say rhymes with Shmersonality Shmisorder.

      Reply
    8. Artemesia

      I am betting he doesn’t track down other people on his day off and repeatedly show up with his ‘questions.’ I think he is trying to force the OP out by harassing her. And he is doing it because they don’t want this expensive employee on their health insurance or to have to cope with any accommodations she may need down the road. ANd because he is a pyschopath.

      Reply
  22. Mint Julips

    Can’t you just leave your days off or whatever filled in as “days off” instead of detailing what you’re doing? I understand adding the details if you’re in a branch meeting but if you have a day off – I don’t see why you would have to say where you are – I’m sure you wouldn’t put in hair appointment with salon details…
    P.S. [I think we are all collectively horrified at the incredible lack of boundaries Ned has….he’s a bonehead]

    Reply
  23. Katie the Fed

    Wow. Awesome answer from Donna and Alison. But…wow. I just don’t understand how anyone would think this is acceptable. Does OP posess such magical information that they can’t email her or wait until she’s back in the office? If it’s happened more than once that they HAVE to get in touch with her while she’s at an appointment, then Ned and Robert need to do a better job of continuity when people are out. But really they need to be unemployed, because they’re terrible human beings.

    Reply
    1. fposte

      I can kind of imagine Ned’s view–“She’s just lying there; she might even be happy to have something to do.” It’s stupid, but I can imagine it.

      I can’t imagine Robert’s view.

      Reply
      1. A Cita

        I was actually thinking it may be more about harassment to get her to quit if the medical issues are costing the company a lot of money. Otherwise it makes no sense, unless the dude is a sadist and is getting pleasure out of it.

        If it’s the latter, I’d be super gross to take the pleasure out of it for him. Like instead of answering his work questions, say something like, “Oh Ned, I’m so glad you’re here. Please sit. Can you believe what this treatment does to bodily functions? I mean, I didn’t expect the explosive gas and diarrhea. Just the other day, I was out shopping when I felt this weird rumbling in my gut, and….[insert gory details].” Yes, I would absolutely do this. And not answer his work questions. Keep changing the subject to something gross and bodily. Maybe throw in some period stuff, because you know.

        Reply
        1. fposte

          You may be right. And while I’m not usually on board with using normal bodily functions as a weapon, I would make an exception in this case. And I offer to help draft appropriately offputting language for the OP. (Color terminology and scent terms are important.)

          Reply
        2. Camellia

          I think I would have to seriously consider doing this, especially if I felt like I didn’t have many options of making him stop without running the risk of losing my job. That, and acting “out of it” like other commentors have mentioned.

          Reply
      2. Observer

        That doesn’t really fly – the OP has told Ned that he’s unwelcome AND has complained about it.

        Reply
    2. Katie the Fed

      My boss visitied me a few times when I was in the hospital last year and brought his wife and kids. It was nice that he visited but the first time he showed up I didn’t know the entire family was coming so it was kind of weird. I ended up really enjoying it though and looked forward to them coming :)

      Reply
      1. Laurel Gray

        I had a friend hospitalized for a while during her breast cancer treatment and later on bed rest at home. I actually enjoyed visiting her because she would ask me to bring specific things and my kid and her dog finally became friends (when my kid learned a tail is not a toy) so it ended up being just as much fun as our red lip and 4″ pump nights out. Now if her boss or a coworker showed up asking work related questions (she was on leave) I would have opened up a Costco sized can of whoop ass.

        Reply
        1. F.

          “I would have opened up a Costco sized can of whoop ass.”
          This! OP, is there a friend or relative (preferably the size of a club bouncer) who can go to your next couple of treatment sessions with you and run interference with this boundaryless intruder? I don’t mean get physical, but just to persuade him to leave and not come back.

          Reply
          1. Kyrielle

            This, and I also wonder what OP’s doctor would have to say about this – does stress impact chemotherapy? Because if it does (and it impacts so many things), then this may be medically inadvisable (which may be a better argument against Ned than “I don’t want to be stressed” even tho the latter should totally be respected – still, making it explicitly medical if you can gives him even less of a leg to stand on).

            Reply
          2. TL -

            Oh, yes! If you can bring a friend/family member – they don’t even have to be large, just with a very assertive personality – who can ask Ned to leave and who can alert the nurses/security for you when he does show up. Whichever friend is best at, “Excuse me, you need to leave. Now.”

            Reply
            1. Judy

              I’d bet if you discussed this with the local chemo buddies, or other local organization, you could get an escort to hang out with you when you’re in your sessions. My mom is involved with them and the local breast cancer support group. A small SOS and you’d have some momma bears handling it.

              Reply
              1. Jersey's Mom

                OP, you can check out http://www.chemocompanions.org They’re a national network and may have a trained volunteer in your city who can be your “companion” during your chemo treatment, as well as provide other support during this really difficult time.

                Hope you’re feeling better and that a truckload of karma smacks directly into Ned.

                Reply
                1. EJ

                  Thanks for sharing this! I have a friend who is about to start chemo, and the family member who would typically go with her is also her source of child care.

                2. OldAdmin

                  One hundred times this.
                  I perfectly understand the OP is under duress by her boss – he already made veiled references to firing her if she didn’t comply with his visits.

                  Regardless if he is harassing her to make leave, wants to make her snap and yell/push/misbehave (so he can fire her for a reason and save money), or if he’s on a power trip, she is afraid of pushing back too hard and losing benefits with her job. This could kill or ruin her.

                  I don’t know if the OP can easily change the clinic or get a private room – in many areas this might not be an option (availability, cost).

                  Of course the OP can try obscuring her appointments, but I would bet money Ned just goes to the clinic on any off day of hers.

                  Yes, try to get hold of a Chemo Companion. Tell said companion what is going on, have her on the lookout at the clinic, and fall “unconscious” when Ned turns up. Let the companion herd him out again.

  24. 2 Cents

    If only you could say this: “Ned, you say what you’re asking me is an emergency, but is it life or death?”
    Ned shrugs.
    “Because this is. And you’re not on my treatment plan. See you tomorrow in the office, when I can address your issue while not under duress.”

    Reply
  25. Mike

    I wonder if the clinic would be willing and able to get a restraining order against Ned. Seems like his behavior there would qualify for it.

    Reply
    1. TCO

      A restraining order would have to be filed by a person, likely the OP, since she’s the one affected by his behavior. That would force Ned to keep away from her at work–not practical in a small office and likely not a route the OP wants to pursue. However, the clinic could file a no-trespass order against Ned, making the clinic (not OP) the “bad guy” and allowing OP and Ned to continue interacting in the office.

      Reply
      1. Mike

        You’re right, it would be a no-trepass not a RO. Fortunately, I think the trespass order is even easier than a RO.

        Reply
        1. TCO

          It is, yes. In my state a RO has to be approved by a judge, whereas a trespass order doesn’t, so the burden of “proof” is much easier. I’d be surprised if the hospital security staff or patient advocates aren’t familiar with the trespass process.

          Reply
  26. Interviewer

    “Also, I have asked the clinic not to admit Ned, but sometimes he comes in anyway or waits until no one is looking before he comes in. There have been times when the nurses have asked him to leave or told him to get out of the room I am in. Sometimes he lies to them and says it is an emergency, and one volunteer told me Ned told the nurse on duty that he was family. ”

    Find a new clinic, stat.

    Reply
    1. AW

      YES.

      It doesn’t even sound like they’re really trying to keep this guy out. Why should the nurses care that this random dude has a work emergency? OP said he doesn’t want him coming in so that excuse shouldn’t work. Also, how does claiming to be family work without showing ID or asking the OP first?

      Reply
      1. Tuxedo Cat

        I hope this clinic gets reprimanded and changes its ways stat. If they’re this laxed with security, there’s a real chance they’re going to let a stalker or another dangerous person have access to their victim.

        Reply
  27. NewDoc

    The clinic should be able to set up special privacy features if it’s known that this is an issue. When we’ve had kids with ongoing CPS cases, they list a row of X’s instead of the name on patient lists; I’ve even seen patients entered under aliases when I used to work in an area with a lot of gang violence.

    I’m so sorry this is happening to you during an already very stressful time, and best wishes for your recovery.

    Reply
    1. fposte

      Unfortunately, it sounds like the clinic doesn’t honor mandates to exclude people. I hope the OP’s case helps them to put better protections in place before harm comes to somebody.

      Reply
  28. Brightstar

    I am completely horrified reading this and cannot comprehend how Ned or the company are justifying their behavior to themselves.

    Reply
    1. Elle

      Wouldn’t you LOVE the opportunity to sit down with this yahoo and see what he has to say for himself? What I wouldn’t give for a 5 minute conversation with him.

      Reply
      1. Mallory Janis Ian

        Every time I’ve ever wanted to hear what some crazy yahoo has to say for himself, I’ve been disappointed and frustrated with what I hear from them. They always seem to instinctively know what to say to deflect blame from themselves, and I’ve never heard anything from any of them that satisfies my curiosity about what’s going on inside their heads. I would love, however, to have a psychiatrist or some other specialist on human behavior tell me point-by-point what the hell is wrong with them, so that I might actually get a satisfying answer.

        Reply
  29. Temperance

    I honestly didn’t think that anyone could possibly be worse than the organ donation bully. Sadly, I was wrong. LW, I’m so sorry that you’re going through this. Is it possible to switch to another branch, or reach out to the main company?

    Reply
  30. Liz

    OP, I would invest in a large set of headphones (the BOSE kind that cover your entire ears) and I would make some lovely playlists of your favorite relaxing (or fun!) music or meditation tracks. Then I would spend my time receiving chemo in “thoughtful meditation”… completely ignoring all stressful thoughts (and people, like ahem, Ned), only breaking your meditation/relaxation/music time for any doctor/nurse/necessary (not work related) communication.

    Or, if the clinic cannot prevent Ned (HIPAA HIPAA) from accessing you, I would ask to transfer my treatment to another clinic. And tell not one single soul you work with where your new clinic is located.

    Reply
    1. Emmy Rae

      Yes, if you’re trying to stop this in a way with less friction, maybe headphones and a note to Ned before your next appointment: “Going forward, my treatment will require that I am not interrupted at the hospital. Please respect my need for privacy and quiet. Of course, I am happy to discuss work during work hours.” Then use the headphones as a barrier, so that you’re not responding to questions, maybe even pretending to sleep.

      Just one idea of what you might try to stop this nonsense!

      Reply
    2. Fed Up

      And any interruption to your meditation which is not proceeded by a prearranged signal (perhaps tapping the top of your foot? something that’s not common) should be met by SCREAMS of absolute terror.

      “AAAAACK! NED!! WHAT ARE YOU DOING HERE?!! HELP!! GET OUT! LEAVE ME ALONE! GO AWAY! NURSE, CALL THE POLICE!! GO AWAY, NED, LEAVE ME ALONE! HELP! SECURITY! NURSE! NED, GO AWAY, I DON’T WANT YOU HERE! AAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!”

      Make a scene. Repeatedly & with vigor, until both Ned & the staff get the clue that Ned is not welcome to be near you.
      Then demand to talk with the clinic manager & maybe the ombudsman, to once again explain that THAT MAN is not to be anywhere near you while you are at the clinic.

      Reply
  31. Rachael

    I’m not sure how high you want to take this, but if I was President or a Senior Officer of a company and I found out that someone was doing something as horrendous as this I would want to know. (and kick their a**)

    You could see how high you can get to notify senior management that someone is doing something so egregious and that HR is standing behind them. This isn’t something that normal people would think is okay.

    Reply
    1. Buffay the Vampire Layer

      This right here.

      OP, I don’t know if the HR person you’re talking to is at your branch or at the head office, but either way they are not the end-all be-all of discipline at the company. If you go over their head or around them or whatever it’s fairly likely you’ll find a normal person who is as horrified as all of us are.

      Reply
  32. 2horseygirls

    I believe the only appropriate response is to file a police report that you are being stalked at your CHEMOTHERAPY appointment. It is your DAY OFF, and Ned is misrepresenting himself as a family member — sounds pretty stalkery to me.

    And dial 911 the next time he shows up – perhaps getting arrested for criminal trespass will straighten out his (and his boss’) perspective.

    WT everloving F?!?!

    Reply
    1. MissStellaRed

      Yep. As far as I know, this might meet the legal bar for stalking in most states.

      1. He has been informed that the contact is unwanted on multiple occasions.
      2. The contact is ongoing, despite his awareness that the contact is unwanted, and
      3. Stalker is using threats to enforce compliance.

      Most states require that the victim have a reasonable fear of bodily harm, death, or property damage. I’d argue that his threats on her job are legit coercive and that the loss of her job puts her at risk for bodily harm or death because she has cancer and she’d lose her health coverage.

      Reply
    1. AdAgencyChick

      Seriously. Bless Alison for being able to respond to this letter coherently. I couldn’t have.

      Reply
  33. the_scientist

    WHAT

    WHAT WHAT WHAT

    Whaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaat

    I……this is just too much. Please go directly to a clinic manager/supervisor/patient advocate and explain that someone is stalking you and you need assurances of privacy. Invoke HIPAA violations. Do you have a legal-type friend or family member who can act as an advocate on your behalf, and compose a strongly worded letter, if it gets to that? I’m sorry that you have to deal with this on top of worrying about your health!

    Reply
    1. Troutwaxer

      You might see if the clinic or their parent organization is accredited by JHACO. Threatening a medical operation’s JHACO status is a very potent threat.

      Reply
  34. auntie_cipation

    Also, what happened to cell phones, texting, and email? What could he be thinking that would prompt him to show up in person rather than send an electronic question? (not that you should have to answer those on your day off either)

    Truly bizarre.

    Reply
    1. Laurel Gray

      +1M

      Also, it makes me wonder what industry this is or what specific work Ned would need from the OP that meant barging in on a chemo treatment. Oh, and why no one else can cross train and have this info while the OP recovers.

      Reply
  35. Navy Vet

    “Also, I have asked the clinic not to admit Ned, but sometimes he comes in anyway or waits until no one is looking before he comes in. There have been times when the nurses have asked him to leave or told him to get out of the room I am in. Sometimes he lies to them and says it is an emergency, and one volunteer told me Ned told the nurse on duty that he was family. ”

    OK, This right here is what bothers me the most for several reasons.

    First and foremost Ned clearly knows he’s violating some serious boundaries. I mean he waits for no one to be looking to go in. That right there tells me he knows he is doing something wrong.

    Second he is lying about who he is. Another sign he knows he hasn’t just stepped over the line, he’s so far over the line that it’s just a dot to him on the horizon!

    Third – What the holy hell does he think this is accomplishing? It’s like he wants his company to be on the news for harassing an employee during Chemo.

    Reply
  36. Weasel007

    Are you on FMLA? I would consider this a huge FMLA interference which could also bring penalties. If you are not on FMLA, I’d go ahead and apply. It can be taken in chunks.

    Reply
    1. Ask a Manager Post author

      That was my initial thought, except that this is happening on her days off — so she’s not using FMLA time to do it (where this would be FMLA interference). Maybe it would make sense for her to take this time via FMLA anyway so that she has that protection, but I imagine that with cancer, she might want to save her FMLA for down the road.

      Reply
      1. fposte

        She might not be eligible–the branch she’s at is too small, and if the rest of the office is more than 75 miles away, that’s that.

        Reply
  37. Rusty Shackelford

    It sounds like you’re actually answering Ned’s questions. If so, stop. Or, if you’re using PTO or sick pay on your chemo days, tell Robert that since Ned is requiring you to work on those days, you’re going to remain on regular pay status.

    Reply
    1. Christopher Tracy (formerly Doriana Gray)

      You and me both, but because something like this recently happened to one of my former coworkers a few months back. Former coworker worked a few days a week and then went out at the end of the week for a couple of days for her second round of chemo while in this division. While getting treatment, she became really ill one week and ended up in the hospital. Our former psychotic manager called HR and demanded to know when my coworker was coming back and what the extent of her treatment was because it “wasn’t fair” to her or the rest of the team for coworker to be out sick. HR told her it was none of her business, and coworker would be returning when she felt better (coworker’s husband had been keeping HR up to date on her hospitalization and treatment plan). Well, psychotic boss yelled at the HR rep and, combined with boss’s previous threat to have coworker fired for taking time off for treatment, HR was none too happy with psychotic boss. They spoke to her manager, our division VP, because coworker told them she was afraid of retaliation once she came back, and psychotic boss was demoted shortly thereafter.

      OP, keep digging around your company’s HR department to try and find an advocate. A well-functioning company would not let the harrassment of one of their sick employees go unanswered. In fact, there would be hell to pay because no one wants a lawsuit on their hands. The publicity from that would be crippling for a lot of businesses.

      Reply
      1. Laurel Gray

        It “wasn’t fair” that coworker got cancer and had to be out while psychotic manager was okay and available to work? Awwww poor psychotic manager, little did she know coworker with cancer would have probably traded places with her in a heart beart! And 100% yes to your second paragraph!!

        Reply
        1. Christopher Tracy (formerly Doriana Gray)

          When former coworker told me this story, I wanted to punch our former manager in the face and it didn’t even happen to me. I also wanted to send the HR rep who handled this a fruit basket because if she hadn’t stepped in, the division would have continued to turn a blind eye to her bullshit, and she probably would have fired coworker under the guise of her work product not being up to standard (on her way out of the management role, she lowballed coworker on her review and said as much in the comments – an asshole to the bitter end she was).

          Reply
  38. Eden

    If this is a smaller branch of a larger corporate structure, this sounds like something that needs to move a level above this (clearly rotten) branch! Good grief.

    Reply
  39. Not Karen

    I’m so sorry that this is happening to you and I wish you the best. I strongly encourage you to seek treatment at a different center if at all possible. They are seriously violating your patient rights but not stopping Ned from getting in to see you. Next time this happens, please skip right over the nurses and call security, or, if need be, the police.

    Reply
  40. Ihmmy

    also, next time Ned the Jerk shows up, just keep repeating things like “This is my day off, that will have to wait until I return to the office on Monday” “I can’t help you with that today” “That can wait until next week”

    Reply
      1. The Butcher of Luverne

        Exactly.

        “Leave. Now. Leave. Now.”
        (after one minute of this)
        “Nurse? please give me a phone. I need to call the police. And the hospital administrator.”

        Reply
  41. Pwyll

    Does OP work for the hospital network? It sounds to me like the company is claiming they can speak to OP whenever they want when she’s on their property, which includes her private medical appointments. Which is outrageous. And if that’s the case, the company itself would be violating HIPAA.

    This is so outrageous. I don’t generally thing most things are worth going directly to a lawyer for, but THIS?! Talk to an employment lawyer. You’d be surprised what a simple letter ending in Esquire might do to stop this behavior.

    Reply
  42. NoProfitNoProblems

    I realize I’m too late to stop this, but I’m starting to think that pre-emptively naming someone a Worst Boss of the Year is a curse that invites more unfortune on future letter-writers.

    Reply
    1. TootsNYC

      I’m beginning to wonder about that cause-and-effect thing as well!

      Maybe we need to start the opposite: “This person has to be the Best Boss of the Year!”

      Reply
  43. Katniss

    So I know the OP might not be up to/able to doing so, so in no way is this a suggestion to do so, but MAN I would love to see Ned, Robert, and the HR person reported to the local media for this.

    Reply
    1. ThursdaysGeek

      I’d like the OP to give Ned’s email to Alison, and have her interview him. I’d really like to hear his justification for this. Robert and the HR person too.

      Reply
    2. Girasol

      Calling the nightly news instead of the police seems like a deterrent to retaliation. I’m kidding, I think.

      Reply
  44. Paloma Pigeon

    This guy sounds like a stalker. He’s manipulated other employees and company policy just so that he can bother the OP, and it sounds like no one else, to get attention from her on her days off. I am assuming OP is female? OP, has Ned ever given vibes like he wants a different relationship? Because I think this might open up another avenue of hostile workplace law – Ned is targeting you for what seems like sexualized reasons. My 2 cents.

    Reply
    1. irritable vowel

      This occurred to me as well. That he’s obsessed with the OP and is doing this not because of any (grossly misplaced) sense of work urgency but because he “needs” to see him/her. If he’s only doing this with the OP and not any other employee, that would fit.

      Reply
    2. Tuxedo Cat

      I got that vibe, too, but I’m female and I was stalked. Not at the workplace but it did lead to my workplace getting involved.

      OP, you might want to talk to an expert on how to handle stalkers. I hate suggesting this because you’re going through so much, but it’s better to be a little more cautious.

      Reply
    3. Armchair Analyst

      I wondered if maybe he’s obsessed with hospitals or medical settings and really really likes to be there, for his own reasons, not to visit or to help the patient, obviously. Very weird!

      Reply
  45. Van Wilder

    I’m so mad. Can we talk about this guy’s power trip? He doesn’t even *need* OP. He just wants to flex his HR-backed “right” to intrude on her life at a vulnerable time. I’m sure this is not his only egregious act as assistant manager. So disturbing.

    Reply
  46. MK

    OP, I am sorry to say this, but I think your company might be trying to make you resign. First, you get a supervisor who leaves the workplace to come to a clinic and harass you during chemotherapy; aside from how against the most common decency that is, surely it’s also completely counter-productive to use his time this way? Then, you have a boss who, when you complained about breach of confidentiality, gave control of your confidential schedule to the person who was responsible for the breach; also, who thinks it’s fine for an employee to be bothered during chemotherapy by someone who wastes time doing the bothering instead of working. Lastly, you have an HR person who considers employees being bothered during medical procedures is within managers’ preview; even if it is perfectly legal, surely even the most incompetent HR professional would know this is a law suit waiting to happen.

    So, I cannot help but thinking that a company who goes out of its way to make the life of a cancer patient difficult with these deranged practices is having an ulterior motive.

    Reply
    1. IT_Guy

      They may also be doing this because of the cost of medical insurance! If this is such a small pool of insured people, it could be a way to drive down the cost of insurance by getting you to quit.

      Reply
  47. Oh my

    Pretty well covered here. OP when you contact the clinic, if you have a picture of Ned, please share that with them. Given what he’s doing he may not give his real name.

    Reply
  48. Booster Nuggets

    These are the questions this site was built for-not the usual “i’m too chickensh*t to tell my coworker to stop taking my copies from the machine.” or “why didn’t i get the job even though I’m so not qualified?” or ” should i send my receptionist a thank you note for doing her job.” This is THE question. Love it. As for advice, I would sue until they don’t exist, same for the clinic.

    Reply
    1. Kelly L.

      Bosses this awful are (thankfully) rare, so most submitted questions will be more “ordinary.” That’s just life.

      Reply
  49. Too Embarrassed to Use My Regular Name For This One

    Several commenters have asked, “How could the boss gain access to the medical clinic?” Unfortunately, it’s not that hard. I have a relative, one of the most despicable people I know personally, who owns a clerical collar. He used to be ordained, but not anymore. Anyway, he puts on the clerical collar if he is going to visit someone in the hospital. Plus he parks in the clergy parking spots. The medical staff NEVER question him and ALWAYS let him in. They think he is there to deliver communion or maybe last rites. Why would they suspect he is a fraud?

    I had an aunt who was in ICU, where only family members are allowed. Several of her friends said they were cousins, so they were allowed to visit. The hospital caught on. When my mom and I went to visit, the hospital was hesitant to let us in because so many people had lied about being family.

    I imagine that this boss has figured out a story that works with most hospital staff. (I’m her priest. I’m his cousin. Etc.) He probably uses that story anytime he needs access to a medical facility. It’s really sad that people do this.

    Reply
  50. TotesMaGoats

    Maybe because my sister was a pediatric oncology nurse for several years, I find the behavior of your clinic to be even more appealing than your company. When you come in for treatment, you should explicitly state that you will have no visitors or only the following list of people and the front desk has to call back first to confirm it. You absolutely need to lodge a formal complaint with the clinic’s manager, legal, patient advocate etc. Honestly, I’d probably do one of those where I find that email address for everyone in senior leadership and email them all. I always hate it when students do that but in this particular case I feel differently.

    Also, Ned and Robert suck.

    Reply
  51. joygord

    And I thought it was horrible when my boss texted me at 4am and during sessions when I was going through chemo. The staff have been trained to deal with this, be persistent. And also maybe consider a restraining order? Egad. Hope you recover swiftly and feel well again soon! (Chemo is really a b* but it really does go away, and your hair really does grow back.)

    Reply
  52. Dekeorum

    This is wrong on so many levels it just boggles the mind. I would urge you to check out the Job Accommodation Network, http://www.askjan.org. This is a free resource for people with disabilities and their advice was invaluable to me when I had an issue with my employer. They can help you understand your rights and how to deal with these violations.

    Reply
  53. Naomi

    I’m hoping poor Osha has some legal recourse here! I’m pretty sure she would if Ned had actually fired her for refusing to give out OP’s medical information, but what about getting fired for something illegal she only did under threat of termination?

    Reply
    1. Van Wilder

      I wonder if there’s some grounds to say her firing was retaliation for being a whistle blower against Ned? Even though she only told OP and not HR, still maybe something…? It certainly looks bad for the company that the HR person is related to Ned.

      Reply
  54. Editor

    Ned’s behavior is like that of a child who only wants the toy that another kid is playing with. Now that the OP is actually unavailable at certain times, Ned just “has” to ask work questions then because it’s all about him, not anyone else.

    OP, I hope you can be a reference for the fired receptionist. Also, is it possible for you to talk to someone at the unemployment office to confirm her explanation of her termination without it getting back to Robert and Ned?

    Also, how big is the company you work for and how is their insurance set up? Is there a motive for pushing you while you’re getting chemo in order to force you out for poor performance? In companies that self-insure the cost of chemo can make the powers that be anxious, and with small plans, the cost of chemo could result in higher premiums the following year. And some people just think people with cancer should be eased out of their jobs because they are somehow contagious or will never be fully competent again — and sometimes they’re not even sufficiently self-aware to realize why they’re uneasy having a co-worker with cancer.

    I am so sorry, OP, that you are dealing with this. I hope the situation can be resolved and that your health improves permanently after treatment.

    Reply
  55. DMC

    Ugh. This is terrible, and I cannot echo the words of others enough when I say what a piece of work Ned is, along with the company who is allowing this to happen. If it were me, I’d be seriously tempted to say how nauseous the chemo is making me and then find a way to throw up on him.

    Reply
    1. Turanga Leela

      I had the same thought. Good luck, OP. I hope you’re able to shut down this outrageous situation (probably not actually by barfing on Ned, but it would be so satisfying).

      Reply
  56. Mimmy

    Wow, wow, and wow.

    I think everyone handled in less-than-ideal ways ESPECIALLY Ned, Robert, and the clinic. Osha was probably under duress when revealing OP’s whereabouts, but I wonder if she then tried to take the issue to HR or some other higher up not at that branch. Doesn’t sound like that was an easy option, though, since Robert fired her and HR seems to be okay with how the company handled it.

    Grrrrr.

    Please update us OP!!

    Reply
  57. Lanya

    OP, this is terrible! Ugh! While you are taking Alison’s advice above to take action against Ned, maybe you could also consider switching clinics (and keeping the address 100% private) so that Ned cannot continue to find you during your treatments. Or even better, make an arrangement with the clinic to have a nurse come to your home to provide treatment. You don’t have to open the door of your own home.

    Reply
    1. AF

      Lanya – I just wanted to tell you I love your profile pic! I’m a PA-er too and I’m totally stealing it! :)

      Reply
  58. CoffeeLover

    Have you talked to Ned about this? I read through the letter and OP seems to have talked to Robert and to the clinic, but not to Ned (although maybe she has and this guy is just persistent). Maybe this can all be resolved with a heart to heart. “Ned, I’m going through a lot right now and having you at the clinic stresses me out and affects my treatment. Please stop coming to the clinic to see me. I’ve asked the medical staff not to let anyone visit me and I would like you to respect that. Anything you need from me can wait until I get back.” Maybe add a line about how the doctor has asked you to come to the treatments alone because he’s noticed the stress?

    Reply
    1. CoffeeLover

      I wanted to add: if he still shows up, tell him to leave. “Ned, we’ve talked about this. I can’t discuss work with you at the clinic. Please wait for me back the office.” Repeat ad nauseam.

      Reply
    2. TootsNYC

      I agree with this, if it hasn’t happened already.

      And the moment he shows up, call the nurse over and say, “Please ask this man to leave; he’s not family, and i don’t want him here where my medical information might be discussed. It’s a HIPPA violation, actually, for him to be here.”

      Or, throw up on his shoes.

      Reply
    3. NoProfitNoProblems

      From the letter:

      I keep trying to tell him that he is disturbing me during my treatment but he either doesn’t listen or makes veiled references to me losing my job (which would also cause me to lose my benefits).

      Reply
      1. CoffeeLover

        Wouldn’t that actually be a bona fide case of hostile work environment though? He’s basically saying he’ll fire her because she was getting cancer treatments. I doubt HR would want that battle. I’m in Canada though, so I’m not sure how this stuff works in the states.

        Reply
        1. fposte

          That one sure could be. You can’t harass somebody for their disability, and ADA does provide a course of action for such harassment.

          Reply
      2. The Butcher of Luverne

        Let’s arrange to have someone at the clinic with OP to be a witness to that thinly veiled threat of job loss.

        Reply
    4. TCO

      Nope. Ned’s behavior is so far beyond the pale that a little friendly chat isn’t going to correct it. He should be met with legal action. OP should focus her energies on more successful routes, like pushing her clinic to deal with Ned once and for all.

      Reply
  59. Construction Safety

    Notwithstanding that it must be April 1st somewhere in the world (not one, but two absurdly bizarre letters in one day) I think that Bob is the boss whose brother needs a liver. Ned is eligible but doesn’t want to do it so he’s hassling the OP with the hope that she can be a donor.

    Reply
  60. Rusty Shackelford

    You know, the ultimate way to thwart Ned might be to just arrange to get your chemo elsewhere, and make sure NO ONE at your company knows about it. I know it would be a horrible inconvenience, but it couldn’t be much worse than having him show up.

    Reply
    1. Sunshine

      Yep, I made the same suggestion above. And I’ll add, if there are no other options because of insurance coverage, I’d be putting some major pressure on the insurance company to find me another location.

      Reply
  61. Government Worker

    This is just awful.

    One thing that I haven’t seen other commenters address: how dysfunctional is this workplace that the question of whether an employee is on a day off or at a meeting in a different branch is considered confidential from the assistant manager, who appears to do most of the day-to-day work? Now Ned has access to that calendar, it sounds like, but why didn’t he know all along? I’ve never worked in an office where the simple knowledge of when someone was going to be in or out of the office was treated as confidential. Whether someone was sick or using FMLA or on vacation or taking bereavement leave could be kept private, but I can’t imagine an office where whether your coworker was planning to be in on Tuesday is treated like nuclear launch codes.

    Reply
    1. OpheliaInWaders

      I noticed that, too. This branch seems way dysfunctional, full stop, so I would really, really hope that OP sends a (lawyer-drafted) letter to the HR department at the parent company.

      Reply
    2. TootsNYC

      I hd this thought as well. Why is it confidential and someone is on a day off or at a meeting offsite? That’s absolutely the weirdest.

      Unless there’s some sort of safety thing, as sometimes with social workers–but even then, it’s not your colleagues, especially not a team lead / assistant manager, that you need to keep the secret from.

      Reply
    3. alter_ego

      that stuck out to me as well. I’ve worked retail jobs that keep employee schedules confidential from customers, which makes a lot of sense to me, but I’ve never seen anywhere that keeps schedules confidential from other employees. At my current job, all of our calendars are shared with everyone else, since probably about 30% of our work is off site, and our hours are really flexible, so it’s really useful to know at 9AM if someone isn’t in because a.) they have the day off, b.) they have a morning site visit, or c.) they just haven’t gotten to work yet. Not being able to know where people are would kill our efficiency.

      Reply
  62. Lalita

    There’s got to be a special hell for these kinds of people… or Ned is just a high-functioning sociopath.

    Reply
  63. Guinness

    Wow. I’m stunned for so many reasons. Most of them are pretty straightforward (he shows up to your chemo appointments? on your days off?), but then Osha got fired for breaching confidentiality — by disclosing information under duress that they ended up just giving to Ned anyway once she was fired? WTF!
    Since these are your days off anyway, is there a reason why they need to know where you are?
    Also, OP, I hope your treatment goes well. I can’t imagine having so much stress when you’re going through chemo.

    Reply
  64. Paris

    If the clinic can’t or won’t keep him out, I think I’d just start screaming the second I saw him. Just scream and scream and scream like the pain of chemo is killing you. He won’t be able to ask questions through the screaming and maybe it would freak him out enough to get him to leave. And the clinic might get annoyed and you can let them know that you’re going to scream whenever you see that guy. That may light a fire under them to not let him in.

    Reply
    1. Isben Takes Tea

      That’s what I was thinking. Of course, I don’t know what it feels like to be on chemo, and yelling just may take too much effort, and would upset other patients. On the other hand, survival mode has to kick in sometime.

      Definitely not prescribing for the OP, but it is an option!

      Reply
      1. The Butcher of Luverne

        Screaming can be exhausting, though, and raise the blood pressure, none of which is good for the patient.

        However, if the OP brought me with on her tx days, I would be happy to scream at Ned for hours.

        Reply
  65. Laura

    I’m unwell today, but this post made me feel even more ill. Worst boss of the year? I think so. Maybe even worst boss of the decade…

    Reply
  66. Ignis Invictus

    Donna’s union comment fired off some neurons, could Osha’s firing be a violation of the NLRA? Seems to me the “confidentiality violation” wasn’t giving Ned calendar info (that argument doesn’t pass the smell check considering the company gave him friggin access after she was fired) it was telling the OP Ned had forced her to violate confidentiality. Discussing Ned’s gross misconduct and how to address it may fall squarely into the definition of “concerted protected activity.”

    Reply
  67. AnonNurse

    There are SO many things wrong with this situation. I will address the one that is closest to me, personally speaking.

    The nurses at your clinic have done you a grave disservice. PLEASE tell the manager/nurse manager that you are to have NO visitors and that you are to be consulted before anyone has access to you during your treatments. It is seriously egregious that this has been allowed to happen and I am so sorry. As a nurse, I would absolutely be glad to advocate for you. You deserve nothing less. I hope you are able to find people who see how crazy this is and back you up.

    Reply
  68. The OP

    I would like to thank everyone for all the suggestions and supportive comments. Also thanks Alison for answering my question and for the good advice. I will be speaking to the clinic again, I didn’t even know this fell under HIPAA. I know I should try and escalate this with the company more but I am honestly really stressed about this. I will see who I can speak with at head office about it. I have been job hunting as much as I can but cancer is getting in the way a bit. I have told Osha I will help her with getting unemployment or a reference if she needs it. My co-workers (besides Ned and Robert) feel the same way. They are just as upset about this. Thank you also for all the well wishes. Some of them made me tear up.

    Reply
    1. Employment Lawyer

      Seriously: Do not speak to a clinic. Do not speak to a co worker. Do not speak to anyone else except a lawyer, immediately, preferably today.

      Reply
    2. Oranges

      I was fired and was able to get unemployment. The judge will see through their bullshit; they’ve seen it before. Not fun in the mean-time but life sucks sometimes.

      You’re not responsible for her firing. Repeat until you believe. A normal person would have talked to Ned and told him that it was NOT OKAY for him to browbeat the info out of Osha (with holding her livelihood for ransom). Then would have told Osha that no matter what she will NOT be fired for doing as I asked and if my underlings have issues with this then I need to fire THEM. Then I would go to HR and start some groundwork because Ned’s gotta go.

      Reply
    3. GlamNonprofitSquirrel

      I’m going through chemo too and if my boss showed up at my treatment with anything other a $1 million bonus check, flowers and maybe some lovely anti-nausea meds, I’d punch him in the manly bits (which I would, of course, attribute to chemo-brain).

      You’ve gotten great advice here so I’ll just say this … YOU ROCK. You’re doing something that’s harder than anyone else out there understands (and this is my second round, so I get it). You are a survivor and a goddamn miracle so don’t let this jackhole derail your treatment and recovery.

      <>

      Reply
    4. Christopher Tracy (formerly Doriana Gray)

      OP, I’m wishing you much strength in the coming months. Please take care of yourself as best as you can – don’t let the outrageous behavior of these clowns stress you. If your coworkers feel like you do, please ask if one or all of them will stand up with you and take this situation to your corporate headquarters. I was absolutely willing and able to stand up with my coworker who was also being harassed while getting cancer treatment if she needed it – maybe your coworkers will do the same.

      Reply
    5. Ethyl

      I would really really encourage you to save your energy on escalating this yourself and talk to a lawyer and have them deal with it. This is such a nightmare that you do not deserve. I’m so sorry.

      Reply
    6. Mimmy

      I am glad that you are job hunting when you are able. I think that is wise given the dysfunction at your current place.

      Hugs and healing vibes coming your way!

      Reply
    7. animaniactoo

      OP, one thing I would also do *immediately* is to document the kinds of things that Ned is showing up to ask.

      Robert and Ned and HR’s main claim to legitimacy here is that it’s the manager’s discretion to determine what information is necessary – but it is the corporation’s discretion to determine whether the manager is appropriately exercising their discretion (and then the law if the corporation still has it wrong…).

      So your best weapon (apart from that employment lawyer) in being able to escalate above all of them to corporate is to have that to say “These are the things that are being claimed as “emergencies”, for which Ned is coming into the clinic where I am having chemotherapy treatment to get answers.”

      Reply
      1. TootsNYC

        I agree here.

        Drag these things out into the light.

        So–when Ned shows up to ask something (if you can’t get him to stop), question him, and clearly so other people (like a nurse standing by, some other chemo patients): “Ned, did you leave the office and drive 30 minutes here–and back–in order to ask me where that file is? The deadline is not until Thursday; are you absolutely sure this couldn’t have waited until tomorrow morning?” Make him say it.

        When you’re back in the office, send an email to Robert, Ned, and the HR person to say, “Just to recap–yesterday while I was at my medical appointment, Ned came into the treatment area of the clinic (which is a 30-minute drive from the office, one way) to ask me this question. I believe this could have waited until my return the next day because of XYZ reasons. I would like to respectfully ask that my private medical care be respected, and that Ned no longer visit the medical clinic and interrupt my treatment.”

        Reply
        1. animaniactoo

          I’m thinking not so much of that as of a list

          “On 5/21, Ned came to ask where X file was located”
          “On 5/24, Ned came to ask if reservations had been made for Y”
          “On 5/30, Ned came to ask for a status update on Z”

          It’s this kind of list that outlines the egregiousness of what’s going on. The repeated minor (and therefore petty) things s/he is being tracked down for. Which s/he uses not to try to reinforce boundaries with Ned, but to report to someone at corporate and say something along the lines of “I have attempted to resolve this with Robert and with HR, both of whom says it is within Ned’s discretion to decide if these count as information that he needs urgently enough to come to the clinic where I am in the process of receiving treatment. I do not believe these are urgent because they could easily be handled on my return to the office the next day. There are no specific deadlines for these matters/projects that I have been made aware of.”

          But an employment lawyer can advise whether that’s something OP should do, or the lawyer should do on their behalf. The main thing is a bigger picture list of what’s going on.

          Reply
      2. Girasol

        My husband has good luck with trespassers when he puts on a shirt with a patch on the shoulder and quietly takes photos of the incident and walks away. No explanation, no argument, but they leave and don’t come back. What if you quietly filmed a chemo encounter with Ned with no explanation and let him stew over why you did it?

        Reply
    8. i'm anon

      The entity to complain to about HIPAA violations is the U.S. Dept of Health and Human Services’ Office for Civil Rights. Please do complain to them ASAP. You can do it easily online.

      You might also want to contact the Department of Labor (federal) and ask about whether this violates other employment laws like the ADA.

      Reply
    9. Ron Skurat

      “but cancer is getting in the way a bit” – one would expect that. My Dad’s been through Chemo twice, and it affects your thinking, your mood, and your ability to just cope. You need an advocate or two; in addition to an employment lawyer, is there a close friend or family member who serve as a personal assistant for the next few weeks?

      Good Luck, and I deeply sincerely hope that Ned and the HR Drone get hit by a bus. Oh, and that you get better – I should have said that first, but the adrenalin.

      Reply
  69. Employment Lawyer

    Holy shit. That is really illegal.

    You need to lawyer up ASAP. You have done nothing wrong; Ned is totally off base; your company is insane.

    Good sources for plaintiff specialists are NELA (national employment lawyer association) and the state version (Google “YOURSTATE employment lawyer association” and also Google “YOURSTATE employment NELA”; you should find one.)

    DO NOT use a non-specialist lawyer for this one. You need an expert.

    Reply
    1. AnonInSC

      Yes – Please do this.

      I wish you well in your recovery! You should not be having to deal with this. I had a coworker go through chemo…our response was to respect her wish for us to not make a big deal about it. I think our grand gesture was going as a group for the flu shot to help protect her and her compromised immune system. You are so surrounded by crazy that you need an expert advocate.

      Reply
    2. Yet Another Allison

      Personally I would love if her lawyer was with her at chemo the next time Ned shows up. Or even if when Ned shows up the OP can just hand him a letter from her lawyer.

      Dumb idea in practice, I know, but such a satisfying thought.

      Reply
  70. Preggers

    First WTF!

    Second, am I the only one that wants to find out when Ned is having a date night or some other personal event and just showing up to interrupt and let his significant other or family know how crazy he is. Hey, Ned I know your on a date but I thought we could talk now so it’d be more convenient for you than driving to my chemo appointments.

    OP have you asked Ned to stop? He’s clearly not going to get the message from Robert or HR.

    Reply
    1. ToxicNudibranch

      Per the letter, yes she had.

      While asking the person to stop is always a good first step, it’s not something you are required to keep doing while you escalate.

      Reply
  71. New Lawyer

    OP, I would recommend contacting the HIPAA Privacy Officer for the clinic/health care system and the General Counsel if they have someone in-house to let them know what’s going on with Ned and see what they can do to make sure he can’t access you while you are in treatment. Good luck.

    Reply
  72. NK

    OP, have you considered taking this up with the corporate office of your company? I’m quite sure they would not be happy to hear about this whole situation, as I’m pretty sure the company itself (and not just your branch) would be liable if there was lawsuit potential here.

    Reply
    1. fposte

      Oh, I was assuming the HR person she contacted was at the corporate location, but maybe not. Definitely contact corporate if you haven’t, that’s for sure.

      Reply
      1. Ethyl

        I wonder if the corporate office also has a legal department that could be notified, but I also think at this point OP needs to lawyer up and let them deal with it, and save their strength for dealing with, you know, CANCER jesus I can’t even this letter is giving me high blood pressure.

        Reply
        1. Temperance

          No no no no no – she should under no circumstances speak to her company’s legal department without her own counsel. The company’s attorney has loyalty to the company only. It would really be shooting herself in the foot to follow this course of action.

          The company lawyer is not your friend. (Like the joke about the court-appointed psychologist.)

          Reply
          1. Ethyl

            Sure but the corporate legal department also has an interest in making sure the company isn’t doing anything illegal, much like HR is supposed to — but of course (as we see with this letter!!!) that probably may not work super well in practice. Having said that, my primary experience with corporate legal departments is about boring OSHA compliance stuff, though to be fair I’m sure most corporate lawyers never in a million years would imagine they would have to advise their company on the legality of stalking employees and harassing them at chemotherapy appointments, FFS. I cannot even with this letter you guys.

            Reply
            1. Temperance

              They absolutely do have that interest, which is why it’s against her personal interests to talk to them. It’s not a compliance issue, they’re actively violating her rights in a gross way.

              Reply
      2. NK

        Oh, maybe that’s the case – re-reading it, it’s possible. I just figured that if the HR rep was Robert’s family member, it was more likely that this was at the same branch. But I also assumed that this is a large company, and while that may be true, it also may not be all that large – just a larger company than the branch, so they might not have a large HR department.

        Reply
  73. Recent Reader

    OP, I hope you have a family member or close friend who can help you research lawyers and word your email to HR, etc. Let them help you, if you can. I can’t imagine having to go through cancer treatments and this kind of crap from your workplace on top of it all. Best wishes to you and I hope this is all resolved quickly.

    Reply
    1. Joan Callamezzo

      This. Anything like this would have been overwhelming for me when I was sick, because I was too exhausted and stressed out already. I would’ve been very grateful to anyone who offered to help Google and contact resources and write letters.

      Reply
  74. Chickaletta

    This is crazy. I’m so sorry this is happening to you, OP. I’m just trying to figure out what Ned’s motivations are and I really can’t figure it out. Usually someone who bends the rules to this extent is a narcisist who does it to benefit themselves, but what benefit is Ned getting from driving all the way to OP’s clinic to ask about non-critical work matters?? It seems like he’s wasting his own time and gas mileage to do this. It’s so weird, it makes me wonder what’s really going on. Maybe he’s just that demented – some people like to surround themselves with drama and I suppose visiting an employee receiving chemo on “urgent” matters creates that sense of drama for him. Who knows. He needs to get a life. And I really hope Osha gets some recourse, I feel awful for her too.

    Reply
  75. Nunya

    I wish name & shame was in effect here, so we could all ‘visit’ Ned and help him gain a little understanding about being harassed on his own time, preferably while engaged in something private and embarassing.

    Reply
    1. I'm a Little Teapot

      Yyyup. I hope that if the OP is up to it, Ned, Robert, the HR manager, and this negligent clinic all end up in the local news. You never know – some bored hacktivists might decide they’d make good sport….

      Reply
  76. Ann

    OMYGOSH!!! Wow! I’m so sorry you’re having to deal with this a-hole while you’re sick and trying to get well. I didn’t read all the comments but I hope someone came up with a very good solution that involved suing the crap out of him and all his cronies. They’re a horrible lot and no one needs that on a daily basis, let alone when you’re dealing with cancer.
    And now I’m thanking my lucky stars for my job and boss.

    Reply
  77. AnonEMoose

    I have nothing to offer except massive good wishes for the OP. Several relatives of mine have undergone cancer treatment, and if someone had pulled this on them, I would have cheerfully ripped off heads and had an impromptu bowling tournament in the hallway. What they are doing is so, so wrong. Very best of luck, OP, both with a successful outcome to your treatment, and your job hunt.

    Reply
  78. Erin

    “Ned, so nice to see you here, again, on my day off! When is your next day off and where are you going to be hanging out? I’m sure it’s not as much fun as this, but please share your calendar with me do I can be sure to come and visit with you!”

    Reply
  79. A Bug!

    Stories like this really make it hard to keep faith in humanity. Osha got fired for “letting” Ned bully her into giving up information that the employer feels Ned should have had access to anyway?

    Immediate firing for an employee who violates a policy, but I guess there’s no policy against managers threatening to fire employees for adhering to policy! Sucks to be you, employees – fired if you do, fired if you don’t.

    Reply
  80. Lee

    OP, so sorry you’re dealing with this.
    I don’t know what to do really to solve this, but what about pulling out your cell phone and recording a live video in front of Ned, telling him you are getting literally in the middle of chemo on your day off and what is he doing here? You could also ask Ned if he’s getting paid to come harass you on your day off, could you be paid for your time in answering his questions? Since your presumably not on your employer’s property, nobody could stop you from recording his actions.
    If you have friends that go with you, maybe they could record Ned? What he’s doing is so outside professional norms and potentially illegal…maybe having his actions recorded will make him accountable for them.

    Reply
    1. Kyrielle

      OP, be very cautious of this route. In some states it might be legal, but in others it’s not unless all recorded parties agree – and in this case I’m not sure that would just be you and Ned, it might include nurses and others whose voices are clearly audible at any point during the recording, or who are visible if it’s video.

      I think this is really, really likely to escalate with Ned, and not very likely to help.

      (But having someone with you to write down clearly the things that Ned came to ask you about, so that you do not have to rely on your own memory – and so that they cannot claim you forgot things because you were loopy from the treatment, although that would be a good argument about how useless pestering you at this point is – might be useful. Transcribing / taking notes is not going to be a problem in any way that I can foresee. Other than Ned not liking it, but _anything_ you do at this point may make Ned upset, because Ned is not reasonable.)

      Though honestly…yeah, I’d lawyer up. Even if you don’t take actual legal action, a lawyer’s advice based in the laws of your jurisdiction will be much better guidance, and can help you take the most effective approach in asking the clinic to be more helpful *and* in addressing your company.

      Reply
  81. Chris

    Every thought that leaps into mind I have to stop. Because all my ideas might get the OP fired, and continuous insurance is vital.

    I think Alison’s advice is by far the best. Go as close to nuclear legally speaking without getting yourself fired too. Going in well prepared and backed up by legal advice will hopefully prevent significant retaliation, though I would immediately begin my job search. I would not want to be involved with a company that cares so little for the rights and privacy of its workers.

    Unions, man. Unions.

    Reply
  82. I Want to Tell You

    As someone who is starting chemotherapy this week (though in a pill form rather than IV), this letter was really upsetting to me. I’ve read a lot of things on here that has disgusted and angered me, but this is the first letter where I’ve had to step away from my work area to get some air after reading. I’m furious on your behalf, OP, and I hope you’re able to resolve this bullshit soon, because this is just…I have no words to describe how beyond the pale this is.

    I agree with others above to change clinics if you can. If your facility has multiple locations, you may be able to change clinics without changing doctors. I also agree to get someone very assertive to act as a “Ned Buffer”.

    *big hug, from one cancer patient to another* I wish you nothing but the best in your treatment and a speedy recovery. And I wish you a new, better job!

    Reply
  83. justcourt

    Just to clarify, Osha was fired because she gave out confidential information? After that, the company gave Ned access to the confidential information (why?), and they think once Ned has official access to that information he can do anything with it? OP, you’re employed by morons.

    Reply
      1. E

        Exactly. By firing Osha the company was admitting that Ned should not have received that information and therefore gone to your appointment the first time. Giving him access to the calendar afterward can’t be taken as allowing him to go to the appointments. The company is ignoring this issue completely, and not caring that they are being idiots.

        Reply
    1. JM in England

      Apologies if this has been mentioned elsewhere on this thread, the way I see it is that Osha was in an impossible situation. Ned was threatening to fire her for not revealing the confidential calendar, so she did but was then fired anyway for disclosing sensitive information. Surely this is enough to go to a tribunal for unfair dismissal?

      Reply
      1. TootsNYC

        and add to the evidence that might help her is that the company gave that information to the very person she was forbidden to give it to.

        Reply
      2. Mike C.

        This happened in the United States, the closest thing is being fired for being a member of a protected class and having clear evidence of such.

        Reply
  84. Former Computer Professional

    This made me cry. I went through something similar but not quite as bad.

    I’d been in and out of hospitals for 2 years when I had a severe allergic reaction to a common medication which put me back in the hospital for two weeks. It took them 5 days to diagnose, which was terrifying. I was covered in a rash head to toe, running fevers around 103F, and starting to have organ failure.

    My supervisor, who always felt I was “faking” or exaggerating, called me on day 3, in the hospital, to berate me for not completing work before getting sick, and then give me orders for when I got out. When my doctor found out his head nearly exploded.

    Day 7, one of the senior managers came to visit me (the only time a work person visited me in any hospital stay) and was horrified to find I was in isolation – nobody in the room without gown, gloves, and face mask.

    When I got out I went to HR, who told me, “Managers can do whatever they want.” Apparently the Sr manager was holding back the supervisor because within a month of him retiring, I was fired (after being set up to fail). Nothing ever happened to the supervisor.

    I did speak to a lawyer but never followed through with it. I’m still furious with myself to this day.

    Reply
    1. Christopher Tracy (formerly Doriana Gray)

      Give yourself a break – a lot of people would have trouble knowing exactly how to deal with asshats like your former employer. They actually did you a favor by letting you go. Anybody who would fire someone for getting sick enough to end up in the flipping hospital is somebody with no conscience or soul.

      Reply
  85. Isabelle

    “I work at a small branch, which is part of a larger company.” OP, you need to go above HR and inform the CEO of the larger company. They need to know about this. Even in the unlikely event that the CEO was as callous as Ned, he/she would still do something because no company would want this kind of publicity.

    Either that or take legal action because this is beyond the pale. I also hope Osha will sue the company for forcing her to reveal confidential information under the threat of losing her job.

    Reply
    1. The Butcher of Luverne

      I hope to gods that OP gets a lawyer and the lawyer sends a certified letter to the CEO.

      Reply
  86. TootsNYC

    One other possible option for the OP would be to try to steer this, instead of trying to end it. If the fight to make it stop is just too risky or too daunting.

    So, propose that any questions be emailed to you, and that you will check your email twice on those days. Point out that it’s probably a better use of Ned’s time for him to wait the 2 hours necessary for you to be able to check the email, because then he doesn’t have to drive to and from the facility.
    Then email at those set times, even if it’s just to say to say, “I’m available; any questions?” if there are no emails from Ned.

    That might make it easier to argue with Robert and HR that you ARE being accommodating, and that Ned’s intrusion should be eliminated.

    Also, keep a list of what he’s asking about, and then use that to guide what sorts of pre-day-off communications you do. You organize all your files so that the answers are easily found in them; you anticipate any projects that anyone might be handling, etc.
    You get your colleagues prepped to be able to help Ned find any answers he might need; and then if he comes by and asks, you say, “Oh, the list I left on my desk says that Janice has info on that–did you check that list?” and then you call Janice, and say, “Janice, Ned is here at my chemo treatments to ask me about this project. You have those files, right? Great, when he gets back, would you give him the answer?” And then to Ned, “Janice, will show you all the details back at the office. I’m really tired right now, and I’m afraid if I keep talking, I’ll throw up; it takes all my concentration to manage the nausea. Sorry. I hope that was helpful.” And lay back and close yoru eyes; ask a nurse to be around during these times, and have her escort him out.

    that way he doesn’t get what he wants, directly.

    And later when Robert is in the office, you can say, “Ned driving over to the chemo center and back doesn’t seem like a good use of the office’s resources, especially when Janice and Clint and I have done such a good job of making info available to him here at the office. And I would really like to say again: This is a stressful time for me, physically and emotionally, and I would really like for Ned to not bother me during my medical treatments. It’s my day off–it’s not like it’s a regular work day.”

    Then you can say, quite credibly, “I’m trying to be very accommodating to the business needs; I’m more than fulfilling my obligation to the company, and I think it’s fair to ask that the company respond to me by honoring my day off, which you aren’t paying me for working, and honoring my medical privacy.”

    Maybe also point out that “medical privacy” also includes things like “I’m pale and shaking; I’m nauseous; I’m throwing up,” not just the big, blanket “I have cancer.”

    I wonder if Ned’s thinking it’s a sick day, so technically a work day (because you do get paid for sick days), and if you can work while you’re being sick, the way some people work from home when they are contagious but don’t feel THAT bad, or have a broken leg and can’t drive, etc.

    Reply
    1. Shazam

      No. What Ned is doing is illegal from both an employment and a medical privacy perspective, not to mention morally reprehensible. There is no reason for OP to cooperate with it in any way, other than to document and record him in action in order to collect accurate details for what I hope will be a swiftly victorious lawsuit.

      OP, I am so, so, SO sorry you are going through this. Lawyer up. NOW. Surely there are lawyers who would take this case on contingency or pro bono. Let the experts fight this battle for you so you can focus on your health. And do update us as this evolves.

      Wishing you a full and speedy recovery and an awesome new workplace full of kind colleagues that you can trust and enjoy working with.

      Reply
  87. Catalin

    OP, are you in the DC Area? I’ll volunteer to come with you and “handle” (in a strictly legal manner) Ned during your chemo.

    Reply
  88. Student

    You are also going to have to consider taking a hard line with this guy when he shows up to bother you at the clinic. Very clearly tell him to leave (preferably with a medical office staff as witness). Don’t answer his questions. If he can legitimately hem and haw about whether you ever told him you need this to stop, then it makes your case against him weaker. Make it unequivocally clear to the boss and to HR that you do not want him at your chemo, too, in writing – that this is unwelcome behavior that needs to stop. No hedging. No couching. Tell HR and the boss that he is implying you will lose your job if you don’t play along with this nonsense.

    Reply
    1. TootsNYC

      Given that HR has backed up the firing of Osha AND has told the OP that managers have the right to come there and to ask her questions on her day off, they will say “the managers CAN fire you for not cooperating with them,”

      Reply
  89. Kimberly Herbert

    I think the letter writer needs to talk to the top person at the clinic. Make it clear they have violate your rights under HIPA by giving any information at all and that in the future you are to be registered as private and no information to be given out except to (people you have authorized). That if they take a no trespass order out on him and have him arrested for stepping foot on their property and take full responsibility for it you won’t sue them or seek to have people’s licences revoked over this.

    Reply
    1. TootsNYC

      The horse is already out of the barn, so…

      But this could help the OP if she decides to move clinics–she can insist that the folks at this clinic offer absolutely no help to anyone who inquires after her. Including stressing that they shouldn’t suggest other chemotherapy locations he can check out.

      And she can stress the problem to her NEW chemotherapy clinic, before the “security breach” happens.

      Though, if Ned can’t get ahold of her when he wants on her day off, he might just try to get her fired.

      Reply
        1. Summer

          Would he barge into her yearly gyno exam? Its the same principal. Shes having a medical issue that he thinks he can just barge into.

          Reply
  90. TO

    First off I’m in shock. Second I’m just angry on your behalf. I can’t imagine someone being this insensitive! Isn’t this considered harassment? If someone was doing this to my mom when she was getting chemo I would have completely flipped out on them. Is it possible for you to stop being even a little accommodating. Tell him this is inappropriate, insensitive, and an invasion of my privacy. I’d like you to leave. I’ll answer your questions when I’m back in the office.

    Reply
  91. AnonMurphy

    This is awful. I am so sorry you’re dealing with this on top of your illness and treatment.

    I also thought of recording (if legal), making sure that clinic staff witness this happening, and bringing a friend. This seems like the type of thing that a lawyer would be more likely to take on contingency (due to the over-the-top nature) and it’s definitely worth a consultation.

    Please take care of yourself. Even if you do nothing, know that you’re not off base in thinking these people are WACKOS.

    Reply
    1. AnonMurphy

      Oh and meant to add…document, document, document. If you send yourself an email (to/from a personal address) every time this happens or you have a discussion about it, you give yourself the strongest possible base for action.

      Reply
  92. Kathryn

    I don’t know anything about chemo. Is it possible to find a different treatment center, and then never tell anyone at work where it is located? If so, perhaps this would be a good stop-gap solution.

    Not that I wouldn’t want the OP to take the strongest possible action to stand up for her rights, but with a health situation like this, I’d think you might want to do what you can to alleviate stress in the short term–just get that guy out of her face now, and sue the pants off everyone later.

    Reply
    1. Lana Kane

      My concern would be that Ned will demand to know the location, and intimidate the OP like he did Osha.

      I think the cleanest solution, for now, is to have the clinic issue a no-trespass against Ned. He could always insist that the OP try to get it removed, but the OP can get away with claiming that it’s out of her hands.

      Reply
      1. Kathryn

        Yeah but she’s already done that. She asked the clinic not to admit this guy, and they have demonstrated an inability to honor her wishes. I’m not sure what you mean by a “no-trespass” but it sounds sort of like a legal injunction or something–that would be great if it could be enforced, but clearly they can’t or won’t keep him out for whatever reason.

        Reply
  93. specialist

    You don’t have a HIPAA complaint. That would require that the facility disclosed your protected health information to someone else without permission and that isn’t happening here. The dumbass isn’t finding out about the appointments from the clinic, but rather from your office. The clinic can play hardball for you, but you don’t really have cause with the clinic.

    You should talk to the head of the clinic or your oncologist. Explain very bluntly that you need this stopped now. They may have a different facility that you can use. If I were the physician in charge of this I would do the following: have security on hand to toss the guy out, have him made persona non grata at the facility, and contact the head of HR for your entire company (no Robert’s relative) with a demand for his visits to stop. If he were to attempt it once after that I would call the police. At this point, it would be reasonable to call the police right now.

    I second the involvement of an employment attorney. I would think it most appropriate to involve the head of HR or company president with this.

    Reply
    1. specialist

      The company has standing to fire Osha. She did disclose information to someone who shouldn’t have had it. Where they went wrong was in not punishing Ned AND in giving Ned access to the schedule. I would also say they are way off base with not stopping Ned from going to the clinic.

      I would submit hours for the times Ned has shown up at your chemo appointments. You should be paid for that time if you are indeed paid hourly.

      Reply
      1. Temperance

        I don’t agree here, because Osha was told that she would be fired had she NOT complied with Ned’s orders. If she had to be fired, he should be fired twice.

        Reply
      2. Melissa

        Yes, that was one of my questions. They fired her for giving Ned the info, and then after she was gone, gave him access. I wondered if that might help Osha’s case.
        This whole situation is horrible. Too bad we can’t form an AAM “love chain” around the clinic when the OP is getting her chemo.

        Reply
  94. nonegiven

    I’m assuming Ned was never in the habit of visiting LW at home to talk about work before chemo?
    Ask for overtime for every minute he’s spent disrupting treatment.

    Reply
  95. Donna

    This might seem way out there, but I think if I were in your situation I would call one of the local churches or service organizations and ask for help. There are a lot of police, firemen/women, and ex-military who volunteer and might be willing to stand outside the door on a few of your chemotherapy sessions to make sure Ned leaves you alone. Heck, anybody could stand outside the door and sound the alarm if Ned gets pushy. (Actually, anyone who hears your story would probably love a confrontation with Ned–I know I would.)

    Reply
    1. Kathryn

      Doesn’t sound way out there to me–it sounds like a really smart, practical solution. Hopefully the OP has some 6-foot tall, 200-lb friends!!

      Reply
  96. stevenz

    I have a feeling you’re not going to be at this company very long. You can always get health insurance through ACA, so don’t stay just to keep your benefits. Check out your options. This guy is a very sick puppy.

    Call the police and tell them you’re being stalked by a lunatic. If he can claim to be family, you can claim something about him.

    Can you change clinics? You shouldn’t have to but it’s a simple partial solution.

    Per Donna’s suggestion, you could take an actual family member to subtly “dissuade” him from seeing you. “None shall pass!”

    I think I would throw decorum out the window on this and march into Ned’s office and hose him down but good, and make sure everyone in the office could hear it. But that’s just me.

    As far as compensation goes, that would be a good way to be annoying but it wouldn’t come close to compensating for the harassment and distress this is causing, and quite possibly endangering your health. How about an injunction? How about a rattlesnake in his desk drawer? (The small ones have more potent venom.)

    Reply
    1. animaniactoo

      Just for reference, what OP can get through the ACA might not be in any way equivalent to what s/he currently has through work in terms of covered benefits, or s/he might end up paying a lot more for coverage that includes those particular benefits. Not all health insurance is created equally, particularly when you are major long-time ill and in need of it. OP needs to investigate and consider carefully before deciding they can “afford” to lose their company’s particular insurance.

      Reply
      1. stevenz

        Correct. But the point of ACA is to provide insurance to people like her who may lose their job – for any reason – and not be able to get insurance because of pre-existing conditions. And she has pre-existing conditions that cannot wait for her to get a new job that has benefits.

        Reply
  97. Ruffingit

    OP, if all else fails, start faking the calendar in that on the days you are receiving chemo, just put them as “Off” days and on the days that you just have off and are not receiving chemo, I’d put those as chemo days. That way, this a-hole would be showing up to them chemo clinic when you aren’t there and wasting his time and your chemo days would be free of his interference. He is just a jackhole and I really hope you get a new job elsewhere and/or can invoke the ADA because WTF??? This is egregious.

    Reply
  98. Rebecca Brown

    I think the point is to harass the OP to quit the job or cook up an excuse to fire her. I think the lawyer up advice is the best. Talk to an employment lawyer.

    The trouble with leaning on the clinic is that the payer in their minds is the employer. That’s the other problem with employee connected health insurance.

    Reply
    1. Observer

      Actually, no, the employer is not the payer in their mind or in reality. The payer, in their mind and reality, is the insurance company. And, even the insurance company is covered by HIPAA. There is also a duty of care which covers even the payer. So, no, there is no excuse for the clinic falling down on its obligations.

      Reply
      1. OleanderTea

        Actually, the employer may well be the payer. If the employer is self-insured — and something like 80 % of larger companies are these days — employers pay for employees’ medical claims. The insurance company handles the claims and payments, but the dollars for those payments comes from the employer.

        However, that does not in any way negate HIPAA, and it certainly in no way allows Ned to go into the OP’s treatment room.

        Reply
  99. Corby

    After this is resolved (these monsters being fired or else the OP finding a job at a sane company), I really hope the OP emails them a link to this page so they can read the horrified comments from this site’s readers.

    Actually this is true for most horror stories I read here. I just think wow if the people at fault could only read all these comments maybe they’d gain a new perspective on things and realize how horrible they’ve been.

    Reply
    1. Ruffingit

      Sadly that almost never happens. People who behave so egregiously always have reasons why their behavior is OK. They would think we’re the crazy ones not them.

      Reply
      1. Corby

        They can’t think we’re ALL wrong, can they? Doesn’t consensus count for anything? It’s not even like the crowd here is all similarly aged, gendered, or even politically aligned. I sort of imagine followers of this blog as a pretty random sample of just people. Sort of like what you see at the DMV. Pretty absent of bias in any direction.

        So if we can all agree on something… like how these people are horrible… that should be indicative.

        Reply
  100. Rivka

    I really don’t understand the urgency Ned has to speak to you about work related matters to the point of constantly showing up to a chemo office. Why can’t he just call you?
    OP, can you give an example of the sorts of questions he asks you or what he so urgently needs to talk to you about in person?
    Honestly, the whole thing sounds irrational and stalker-ish.
    Can you describe, in more detail, his interactions with you when he’s finally tricked his way in to see you. It all does not make sense.

    Reply
  101. LisaD

    OP, if you happen to be in the Los Angeles metro area, I’d be happy to go with you to chemo, pretend to be a family member, and physically bar Ned’s way to you while screaming for hospital security. You can then apologize for your “crazy cousin” and tell him “Well if you insist on barging into my medical appointments, I can’t be responsible for my family’s behavior.”

    Reply
  102. Mookie

    Ned, knowing about your office’s confidentiality policies used his clout to pressure and bully someone into violating those policies, and has been rewarded. Robert’s given him carte blanche to exploit his access of private information, again, in violation of the office’s policies.

    This is a bad place and I hope you have the opportunity to get out of it.

    Reply
  103. OlympiasEpiriot

    Thia and the photoshopping one were posted on Tuesday. I had to check because my reaction to both was WTF??!!

    Oh my, OP, I am so sorry you are going through all this.

    Reply
  104. WTF, really?

    Ok. I’m in agreement that this is just plain nuts. I’ve seen and been through some borderline illegal stuff in the workplace but this…this…I don’t have an adjective that describes this correctly. As for advice, get a lawyer. Now. Also, check and see if your treatment center has a patient advocate. They need to file trespassing charges against this guy. If you can get none of this to stop, bring a notebook with you. When scumbag magically appears, pull out the notebook. Ask him to leave, if he refuses start taking notes. Explain that you want to make sure you get his request correct for future reference. Make sure you have asked him to leave first. This will help you with documentation for your future lawsuit.

    Reply
  105. Seuuze

    I agree, agree, agree with so much of the above. OP, I am so sorry you are going through chemo with a crazy work situation on top of the stress of your illness. This is heartbreaking and makes me crazy to read what you have to deal with ON DAYS YOU HAVE SCHEDULED TO TRY AND GET BETTER!!!!!!!!!!!
    From personal experience, Ned seems to have a severe personality disorder, putting his wrong-headed beliefs that he “NEEDS” to track you down for some inane pretend work emergency. He has non-existent boundaries and from my many years of unfortunate experience these types of narcissists, border-line personality disorder, socio/psychopath people have absolutely NO clue how to stop, even when told they must stop. And because he seemingly can’t stop I even wonder if he has some kind of sick interest in being around you while you have chemo. This may sound like a stretch, but he sounds driven to invade your privacy, space, health and recuperation no matter what. Especially as pointed out by others, that he waits until no one is around so he can sneak in. This is very sick behavior.

    Trust me, there is NO reasoning with a person like NED. They are so caught up in what they are doing that they think is right that none of the reasoning, asking politely or firmly, or telling him to leave you alone will get into the huge, thick paste of self-absorption and whatever-pathy that is stuck on and surrounding his brain.

    Because he will not honor your request, and because the clinic so far seems useless in protecting you, going straight to the lawyer, and as suggested a specialist, is the next best step. Many lawyers will take your case on a contingent fee basis, to be paid after you receive a settlement. And I certainly hope you get a BIG BIG settlement for emotional duress due to the unnecessary harassment. Let the lawyer write a letter to the CEO and then let the games begin. In the meantime, have an attorney write a letter to the head of the clinic and also see if you can go to another clinic. But if you do, will Ned research and start driving to all of the different clinics to find your car in the lot? To me, he sounds that crazy-shrewd to do that. If you have treatment at the same clinic and he shows up again, ignore him, no eye contact, have your headphones on, hum quietly and film him. Document, document, document everything you can remember, even how long he stayed and harassed you during treatment. Your attorney will want and need this information.

    Please find a strong-willed advocate or two or three, who can help you find an attorney and help you with interviewing one that fits for you and with any other support and assistance you need during this time dealing with this rasher of crazy people.

    Best of luck with your treatment. No one should have to endure this level of crazy during a time that is needed for rest and getting better. My heart goes out to you and I so wish you the best now and in the future and a huge hopes for a new fantastic job!

    Reply
  106. Troutwaxer

    I’m with all the people who are telling you to get an employment lawyer. The more I think about this the more complicated it looks. You should just keep answering Ned’s questions when he comes to the clinic – play the good little employee so as not to get fired for refusing to answer the manager’s questions – and let your attorney carry the big stick, make threats for you, and hopefully get you the big settlement you ABSOLUTELY DESERVE.

    Reply
  107. Catabodua

    As someone who has a component of my job dealing with HIPAA and clinical situations I can barely read this letter without having an anxiety attack. I hope OP follows the advice to get a lawyer involved asap.

    On top of that – if you have the ability, or ask someone to help, call the hospital / medical group the clinic is associated with and ask for their compliance officer. Trust me, that person cares so very very much about this situation and will help keep Ned out.

    Reply
    1. Ron Skurat

      exactly – people at hospitals & clinics get fired all the time for minor slip-ups that can bring a $10,000 fine, but this is MAJOR.

      Reply
  108. Nettie

    If your treatment is at a clinic that’s part of a larger hospital system, they often have emergency payment assistance. Check it out- you may be eligible if you do lose your job.

    Reply
  109. Ron Skurat

    Wow. If this happened at the Cancer Center I work at, he would already have been arrested several times for trespassing, then permanently banned. This sort of thing does not happen at reputable clinics. Reminds me of the Winkler County case.

    Report the HIPAA violations immediately to the HHS Dept of Civil Rights. There are so many things wrong with this situation – if all else fails, bring your story to the press & everyone involved will be in a world of hurt.

    Reply
    1. Catabodua

      And, as you said above, I’d expect lots of open positions because people would be getting fired all over the place.

      Reply
  110. Xarcady

    I realize I’m coming in late here, but OP, it might be worth a short chat with whoever runs the chemo center–or that person’s boss. A chat in which you point out that they can’t even keep your assistant manager away from you, after you have requested that. And that the next time, it might not be an assistant manager with questions about work, it could be an abusive ex-spouse, or stalker ex-boy/girlfriend.

    The clinic needs to protect patients who are at their most vulerable during treatment, and who are not in a position to simply get up and get away.

    Their current set-up is simply a problem waiting to happen.

    And request that they move your treatment to a room with a door that locks.

    Reply
  111. AllieJ0516

    OP, I’m so sorry that you have to deal with this. And praying that the chemo and treatment puts you in 100% remission! The part of Alison’s response that stands out in my mind is the possibility of hitting them in their pocketbook. If the visits from Ned put you over 40hrs, charge them time and a half!! Obviously he’s a class A jerk, and should be getting disciplined on his practices, not encouraged! HR sounds like they need some lessons in HRing, too! I do hope you can hit them monetarily – they totally deserve it.

    Reply
  112. Elena

    I’m highly entertained by Robert, Ned and Osha…
    Someones been watching Game of Thrones me thinks.

    Reply
  113. CatKat1

    HIPAA has no personal right of action. That means people cannot sue each other, their physicians, their employers, or any facility using HIPAA as a basis for relief or damages. Some states have laws that offer more protection than HIPAA (which is a federal law). Having said that, this woman should still make a formal complaint about the invasion of her privacy. Personally, I would change chemotherapy facilities too, and don’t tell anyone the location of the new place. Ignore calls on your day off. When you’ve beaten the cancer, find another employer.

    Reply
  114. ARR

    The next time he shows up, have the clinic call the police and have them haul him out and then he will not be allowed back on their property. You could also file harassment charges.

    Reply
  115. mataliandy

    This is such an egregious violation of the OP’s privacy that I hope she takes legal action. No one, not even your spouse can demand to be present with you for a medical appointment. Period. *If* it were a worker’s comp case, the employer could require a second opinion from a doctor of their choosing, but that’s the absolute limit.

    Under no circumstances is this manager within his rights. Nolo has a nice, succinct description of employer privacy violations (www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/proving-privacy-was-violated-work-29923.html).

    Since this warped individual is has met all 3 of the “these make a stronger case” examples, I think that the OP should take the company to court for violating privacy (and the doctor’s office to court for HIPAA violations).

    Not only is the manager himself standing in legal quicksand, the corporation, by dismissing his behavior, and not stopping him after being notified, is right there with him.

    I agree with the attorney who suggested filing a formal complaint via email. I’d also print it out, sign it, and send one copy each, registered mail, with return receipt (so you get a little card back with the signature of the person who accepted the letter), to the head of HR, the head of the legal department, and her manager.

    Keep the one printed copy, all 3 registered mail receipts, and all 3 signature cards in a file folder at home. With a company this bad, she needs to have physical proof on hand that they were notified. Also, print out any existing email chains on the topic, and write up a rough timeline of incidents. Sign the timeline in the presence of a notary, and get the notary’s seal on it. Most banks and post offices have a notary on staff, who will charge a small fee ($5 – $10).

    There will inevitably be an email trail in response to the formal complaint. She should print out every single one, because chances are that they’ll dig in their heels and make things worse. Keep a log of all interactions with the manager.

    She should bring the whole bundle to an employment law attorney in her state. The company should not only compensate the OP for the personal time lost, they should compensate her for invasion of privacy, and she should seek both punitive and exemplary damages.

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  116. DG's gal

    Just looking at previous posts and I saw this…holy moly. I feel so bad for you, I hope you continue to recover. This sounds to me like it’s a bit of twisted mind-game stuff in addition to being wildly inappropriate. It’s almost like he’s thinking…”I know you have a needle stuck in you for a certain amount of time so you can’t get away from me.” Is there another place where you can go for chemotherapy? I’m sure if you explained the situation to your doctor (not that you should have to!!!), they could recommend somewhere else to go. Then on your calendar, just put something like “private appointment” with no location. I think it would be wise for you to perhaps look into this person’s background too if you have the means to do so. This just seems stalker-ish to me, and if he’s done it to you, God knows what he’s done to some other people! Take care of yourself, please keep us updated!!!

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  117. Sarah

    Did we ever get an update from this OP? Seeing it in the bad boss of the year vote reminded me that I really wanted to know what happened with Ned the jerk!

    Reply
  118. Juliah

    I work in the healthcare system and this is SEVERELY illegal, if anything the best you can do is get in contact with your district attorney or talk to the Department of Labor. Also that nurse can ABSOLUTELY get fired for violating HIPAA, you have the right to your medical records and no one else! If you want to talk more message me on Facebook, my name is Juliah(exactly how you see it spelled).

    Reply
  119. Stella's Mom

    This letter is very timely. Thank you for the courage to write it, Letter Writer, and for the good reply, Alison. Why is it timely you may ask? Because aside from getting released today from my own gallbladder-caused hospital visit, I saw that a dear friend of mine (who is undergoing radio therapy for bone cancer) was visited by her boss in the hospital to discuss work and employment contracts. I was shocked, as where we live in Geneva, this is absolutely against employment law as well as just horrid. I will share this with her now.

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  120. JaneO

    Hi, I know this is quite an old post but I have just found the site (via Captain Awkward), I have spent a couple of days trawling the posts and comments and all are endlessly interesting. But this one has really got to me. I am in the U.K. and we are currently in a fight for our lives over saving our NHS – this situation would not be be an issue at the moment because our health costs are free and completely unrelated to our employment. Also, despite the best efforts of the current government our employment rights would have this guy sacked immediately because the company would face a law suit that would run a juggernaut through the business. I just have no words.

    Reply
  121. Jenny

    This story is making the rounds again, apparently (has there been any follow up??). Am I the only one thinking OP needs to go the police or get a restraining order? Unless she’s getting paid for the times Ned is questioning her about work during her chemo (which I suspect she’s not), he’s stalking her, plain and simple.

    Reply

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