Recently I found myself in a situation where I just had no idea what the best course of action could be.
I went back to my old workplace to get some paperwork done. While I was waiting for the person I needed to be available, I talked with a new worker there. She ended up asking me about one of my colleagues, who was still working there.
She asked me if this colleague had always been so weird, and when I asked for details, she explained to me that he sometimes did "weird things" with his hands. One time that really stuck with her was when she came in the office, and, from the back, she could have swore that he was touching himself.
When I was working there, I happened to overhear a conversation between him and a manager, and he is apparently suffering from the Alien hand syndrome.
So I was stuck with two options:
- Tell her about his illness, so that she could understand his behavior, and avoid judging him. The problem is, I don't think I have the right to disclose any personal information without their permission. Plus if he wanted others to know about it, he would have disclosed it himself.
- Not tell her about it. The problem with that is that it could cause a lot of problems in their working relationship, cause tension, or even cause him to lose his job.
Since I am no longer working there, I decided to stay out of it, and told her that I never paid too much attention.
But that kind of situation could very well happen in my current or future workplaces.
If that was the case should I disclose the illness to prevent misunderstandings? Or is it really completely unethical, and none of my business?
All of this happened in France by the way.