403: Confidential Information
The University will safeguard confidential information concerning patients, students, employees, University business, and other matters. Unauthorized accessing and/or disclosure of confidential information by University employees is prohibited and may result in legal penalties.
Certain University educational, medical, financial, and other information are confidential and subject to specific state and federal laws and regulations. Therefore all confidential information must be protected against unauthorized access and/or disclosure. Access to and release of information must be in compliance with legal requirements and policy.
Types of Confidential Information
Confidential information includes, but is not limited to information concerning:
- Medical Center patients
- Law Center clients
- Prospective, current or former students
- Current, former and prospective employees (employment, pay, health, insurance data, and other personnel information; however, this policy does not prohibit an employee from discussing his or her own wages, hours, and other terms and conditions of employment with co-workers or a union representative, if any. Instead, it restricts an employee from sharing the information of other employees the employee obtains as a result of his or her Georgetown position)
- University business, finances, or operations
Restrictions and Violations
There are specific laws, University policies, and guidelines that govern the release of confidential information. Therefore, University employees may not obtain access to or provide confidential information unless their positions within the University authorize them to do so. Employees who receive requests for confidential information should seek direction from a supervisor before responding.
Employees who violate the University’s Confidential Information policy may be disciplined up to and including dismissal. Unauthorized accessing or disclosure of legally protected information may result in civil liability or criminal prosecution.
Employees may not comment on University business to representatives of the press (radio, television, or print media) without authorization from the appropriate University Public Relations office or the appropriate Vice President. Inquiries from campus media must be referred to the appropriate department head (or higher level of management).
Employees may not represent themselves as spokesperson for the University unless authorized to do so.
Subpoenas and any other request or demand for the release of information for a legal proceeding must be referred to the Office of University Counsel before release of any information.
Supervisors are responsible for knowing the confidentiality laws, policies, and guidelines that pertain to their area. Supervisors are also responsible for informing employees about restrictions on confidential information. University employees must comply with this policy.
Contact the appropriate Human Resources department if you have questions or if you would like more information about this policy. Contact the appropriate Public Relations Office concerning media contacts or the Office of University or Medical Center Counsel concerning subpoenas.