Confidentiality and Privacy
The University is committed to protecting the privacy of all individuals involved in the investigation and resolution of a report under this Policy. The University also is committed to providing assistance to help students, employees, third Parties and visitors make informed choices. With respect to any report under this Policy, the University will make reasonable efforts to protect the privacy of participants, in accordance with applicable state and federal law, while balancing the need to gather information to assess the report and to take steps to eliminate Prohibited Conduct, prevent its recurrence, and remedy its effects.
Privacy and confidentiality have distinct meanings under this Policy:
Privacy: Privacy means that information related to a report of Prohibited Conduct will be shared with a limited circle of University Employees who “need to know” in order to assist in the assessment, investigation, and resolution of the report. All Employees who are involved in the University’s response to reports of Prohibited Conduct receive specific training and guidance about sharing and safeguarding private information in accordance with state and federal law.
The privacy of Student education records will be protected in accordance with the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (“FERPA”), as outlined in the University’s FERPA Policy. The privacy of an individual’s medical and related records generally is protected by the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (“HIPAA”), excepting health records protected by FERPA.
Confidentiality: Confidentiality exists in the context of laws that protect certain relationships, including with medical and clinical care providers (and those who provide administrative servicesrelated to the provision of medical and clinical care), mental health providers, counselors, and ordained clergy, all of whom may engage in confidential communications under Alabama law. The University has designated individuals who have the ability to have privileged communications as “Confidential Employees.” When information is shared by an individual with a Confidential Employee or a community professional with the same legal protections, the Confidential Employee (and/or such community professional) cannot reveal the information to any third party except when an applicable law or a court order requires or permits disclosure of such information. For example, information may be disclosed when: (i) the individual gives written consent for its disclosure; (ii) there is a concern that the individual will likely cause serious physical harm to self or others; or (iii) the information concerns conduct involving suspected abuse or neglect of a minor under the age of 18.