This is a follow up to my post of http://www.josephfclark.com/blog/?p=333, which I posted as a comment to that blog and wanted to post as a mini follow up blog here too.
My Catch 22 in academia is concerning a conflict between federal laws and local laws/policy. Recently, I am happy to say, I am not the only one who suffers through such conflict. In order to avoid embarrassment I have redacted details that might be embarrassing or inflammatory. Sorry if this makes it hard to read, but please look at the humor.
Here is the local policy.
- Employees are not permitted to access their own records.
- Employees are not permitted to access any member of their family’s records.
- Employees are not permitted to access any person’s electronic records except as part of their job.
There is a no-tolerance policy now in effect for employees for inappropriate access of records. First offenses will result in immediate termination.
That policy had numerous responses from people talking about typographical errors and also a requirement to scan records to ensure they are the correctly requested records. Three people stated that accidental searches had led them to access to erroneous records since the time of the policy was instituted (without comment or discussion) and asked if they were terminated.
Here is the funny part. It is against federal law to forbid access of one’s own records. Immediate termination is against most union contracts.
This is all a symptom of myopic administrators and non-practitioners making policy and wielding power capriciously. I have a suggestion. Come out of your ivory tower and talk to people doing work for and with humanity.