Fired worker sues state over medical privacy

Patrick Yeagle reports:

A dispute over a computer program at a state agency in Springfield has escalated into a federal court case involving doctor-patient confidentiality, more than $771,000 in damages sought and even a fake bomb threat.

Michael Sanders, 46, of Springfield, a former data processing technician with the Illinois Department of Central Management Services (CMS) since 2005, is suing CMS in federal court on claims that the state agency violated his right to medical privacy and fired him without cause.

Sanders’ lawsuit arose from a disagreement over whether CMS can force employees to attend “independent medical examinations” – known as IMEs – and revoke an employee’s right to doctor-patient confidentiality. Sanders has been removed from his job at CMS three times for refusing to attend IMEs, and although he was reinstated after fighting the first two dismissals, he is fighting for more than just his job this time.

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