Illustration of gossiping in cafeteria

Q: I recently discovered I have multiple sclerosis. I thought I owed my boss an explanation for having to take time for doctors' appointments. I asked him not to say anything, but he told several people, and now the whole company knows. How do I handle this?

A:"An employer has the right to know your health condition but never the right to gossip about it with colleagues. In an effort to protect employees from unfair practices due to health issues, the federal government instituted the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act. In other words, your boss is in trouble." — Rudy Rasmus, pastor of St. John's United Methodist Church in Houston

"You were right to help your boss understand—the more he knows, the better he can run the place. But you're also right to keep a diagnosis confidential (diagnoses aren't always what they first seem). Your boss forfeited trust by breaking your confidence, but now others can be inspired by your openness, optimism, and courage. If they see you're not treating yourself differently, they'll be apt to follow suit." — Rushworth M. Kidder, founder of the Institute for Global Ethics