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ViaSat: An image of deception (Pt: 2)

We withheld writing this article, pending a response from the internet company, ViaSat. Well, after waiting, we did finally get that response. However, the response isn’t what you would expect from a company, who is being accused of deceptive business tactics. These tactics include “accidently” placing people into contracts without their knowledge, misrepresentation of their services, and overall misrepresentation of their return policy. This is isn’t close the complete list of problems with ViaSat. On the BBB, the internet provider has a rating of 1.04 out of 5, this is extremely low.

Since the time of our last article, we received documentation from one of their, now former, customers. This customer accuses the company of placing him into a contract that he knew nothing about. In fact, he stated to the WoC team, that he had made it clear that he did not wish to be under contract. To this, the company had him pay a fee. It was only when he attempted to terminate service that he learned of the contract. As a result, he was forced to deactivate his debit card. But this individual didn’t stop there. He went as far as to send us email discussions with the internet provider, along with their replies. With permission, we are quoting them below.

I’m not worried about “keeping the equipment.” What I’m concerned about is the fact that your company lied to me when I initially setup the account, about the contract. I specifically stated, prior to setting up, that I did not want to be under contract, something I was assured would not happen by paying that fee. For me to be placed into a contract, under a false pretense is not only illegal, but nullifies the contract, something to which I am willing to go into litigation about. This situation, I assure you, has lost my business, A complaint with the FCC due to the fact that deceptive tactics were used against me, and from what I’m finding, I’m not the first to go through this. This is where we stand, we either need to resolve this contract situation, I return the equipment, and we both move forward, or this can escalate and we end up in a courtroom. I’m not negotiating this, what was done to me was deceptive and unethical.

The above is the second email sent to the provider, who seemed to be under the impression that the individual wanted to keep the equipment. In the email, this was quickly cleared up. But this isn’t where the interesting part is. To find that, we have to look at their response. We have taken the courtesy of highlighting a very important part of their response, something they may not have realized at the time of sending.

Thanks for reaching out to us, I apologize for the delayed response.

The Lifetime Equipment Lease Fee does not purchase the Viasat equipment, and it does not void the 24 month agreement.  All it does is prepay the lease fee for the first 24 months of service, and guarantee that the lease fee will not be charged for the life of the account.  The equipment is still expected to be returned when the service is discontinued.  As the equipment is designed to work with Viasat only, is attached to your account when activated and cannot be used on another account, there isn’t much reason to keep the equipment in any event.

If your intention was to have a service with no contract, that the lifetime lease fee was selected instead of the no contract option was likely a mistake at the time of sale.  Unfortunately, as the company that sold and built the account are a licensed dealership, we don’t have access to any call recordings.

Thank you for choosing Viasat as your internet provider.  We appreciate your business.

Sincerely,

Social Media Specialist

As mentioned, they had accidently given this customer a bit more than they intended. In their email, they outright state, “If your intention was to have a service with no contract, that the lifetime lease fee was selected instead of the no contract option was likely a mistake at the time of sale.

What makes this so interesting? To put this into simple terms: the company acknowledges that a mistake was very plausible. But does this obligate the customer to the contract? No. In fact, it would void out the contract, therefore whatever ETF charge they applied to this specific individual, should had been equally nullified. But it wasn’t. Instead, they attempted to enforce this illegal contract and then abruptly terminated contact with the customer. Meanwhile, on various review sites, ViaSat’s image continues to plummet toward the ground.

So what about that response? We’ve shared one customer’s experience with ViaSat but we haven’t discussed the response. We went to ViaSat’s Facebook page, where we brought the various accusations to their attention, expecting to get a response. Today, they did give us a response. I was abruptly blocked from their page. Being that many of the accusations are criminal, I won’t lie and say that I’m surprised by this. The best hope the company has is to block anybody who brings this to their attention. This move doesn’t come without risk. In blocking, some may take this as an admission of guilt. Some may think that the company is trying to cover up their fraudulent acts, but I believe they are trying to deny responsibility to the many people they have defrauded.

Though ViaSat may try to hide this from the Facebook, and other social media communities, they cannot hide their “F” rating with the “BBB.” Furthermore, they can’t stop the complaints, which are rolling in by the day. Them blocking me for asking simple questions only showed me that I, and my platform, are a threat to them. Given the large quantities of fraud, misrepresentation, lack of service complaints, and poor customer service, I think I live with being a thorn in their corporate side.

Starlink: Is it worth it?

Months ago, I had made the announcement that I would be partaking in the beta test for “Starlink.” Upon using the product, I am going to be giving my honest opinion of it. Before I do this, however, I want to make it known that “Starlink” has no association to this article, This means that, “War on Corruption” is not being paid to by their company to write this. This article is being written purely from my observations.

In the satellite internet industry, there really aren’t that many options, especially in the United States. The few companies who do strictly provide internet in this format, can be described as questionable, and that’s putting it kindly. So what of “Starlink?” Is it any better? Let’s break down the pros and the cons.

Pros

The internet speed is absolutely impressive, even for a beta test. For instance, I average around 97mbps download and 10mbps upload. I expect that this is going to be improved as the network becomes more advanced. Unlike other companies, as we recently discussed in a previous article, “Starlink” has done exactly what they said they would do. They have provided exactly what they claimed. This form of transparency is refreshing as most companies have hidden conditions, to which you only learn after signing up.

Unlike other companies that I have dealt with, there are currently no contracts, though it’s unknown if this will change in the future. If you want to cancel your service, you can without any risk to you, or your banking account.

One thing that other companies love to do is “throttle.” Throttling is when a company slows your internet down for other customers. For companies, such as ViaSat, this is a constant issue as they throttle their internet regardless. However, with the introduction of this new service, it’s fairly easy to presume that these other companies may have to step-up their games if they wish to remain in the competitive field.

Cons

As with any company, there are cons. To keep this review fair and transparent, I’m going to review these flaws. Some of these flaws are will be fixed before global release. But for now, we’re going to count them, but we will mention the ones, that we are aware of, that will be resolved.

For many users, especially those who are computer savvy, the inability to access the router is a bit of a problem. This means that you cannot go to the router’s settings as “Starlink” currently does not have that ability. However, if you are one of these tech savvy individuals, this is one of the cons that they state will be resolved.

Another potential con comes in the fact that all IP addresses are currently dynamic. Though this in itself isn’t the con, the con comes in that if you need to reboot your modem, you’re going to have to setup your entire network all over again. This is something that could be a bit annoying, but it’s not to complicated as you are walked through the process, which is essentially naming and setting a password. It is unknown if this will be changed.

Nobody likes downtime. But when you’re apart of a beta test, you’re going to get it. For me personally, it’s been minor little glitches: pages not loading, forcing me to refresh, the period disconnection from the router, that sort of thing. But, with that aside, it hasn’t really posed itself as a serious issue. This is, thankfully, one con that will be resolved prior to global release.

So this is what I think about the new “Starlink” system. Overall, it’s a wonderful system with a lot of potential. If the company’s mindset, and transparency, remains as it currently is, I can foresee it quickly stomping the competition.

ISP, ViaSat, accused of shady business practices (PT:1)

Editorial Note: This article is not intended to act as legal advice. It is purely based on the research of “War on Corruption, LLC,” to bring awareness to a situation that seems to be rampant within the ViaSat corporation.

The internet age has allowed us to communicate on a global scale. Through the internet, we are able to call, video chat, and even conduct business that would otherwise be impossible. But, as with all things, it has a dark side to it. Just as honest people have found an avenue for discussion, socializing, and so fourth, this remains true for those who are not so honest. But what happens when the dishonesty comes from the very company who has provided you this global access? That’s the question that has lead to this article.

Viasat is a global internet company. Through the use of satellite technology, they provide the same service as any other ISP. However, unlike what you find with most ISP’s, the amount of complaints against this one is alarming. From misrepresentation, shady business tactics, and a lot of the in-between,  Worst yet, every business review site, including the BBB, reflect this.

Though its rating varies from site to site, we’re going to look at the BBB. According to the site, Viasat has a rating 1.04 out of 5. For a company that prides itself on providing internet service, this score is extremely low. Upon looking into the reviews, however, it quickly become apparent as to why.

The main nature of my complaint is the willful misrepresentation on the part of their sales personnel at the time we were investigating switching to a satellite provider. As with so many, we live in a rural area and had endured unusable DSL for years from ******** **************. We needed something better. We knew that ViaSat was not going to be perfect, but we were discussing going from a monthly fee of $78/mo for intensely unreliable service to $179/mo for service described as ‘variable once our data cap had been reached’. We GRILLED the salesperson as to what that meant, because what we had been enduring were speeds between 0.1 and 1.0 mbps. Anything under 0.8 and our internet becomes unusable and believe me I have learned a lot of tricks; everything from extensions that play videos only once they are fully buffered to tab suspenders to features on my gaming computer that allow the entire resources of my computer to be used only for one browser tab. We were ASSURED up, down and sideways that it would never, ever be worse than 5mbps at the very, very worst. With this fear assuaged, we signed up. So once again last night our data cap ran out (we pay for the highest tier; we cannot purchase more data and we have tried) and at 7pm I was confronted with a Zoom meeting and a 0.2 mbps connection. When I contacted customer service the next day to tell them that this was unacceptable and that they needed to do something, she figuratively threw up her hands and could only say ‘this is how ViaSat works.’ I told her that this apparently translated to their sales personnel lying as much as necessary to sign people up and then abdicating all responsibility once their customers were stuck in contracts. I gained the sense this was hardly the first time she had heard this. I would not mind being slowed down. I mind having totally unusable Internet as I am sure almost everyone here does. I mind even more that I was bait and switched; I don’t like liars. What this company does would be illegal in Washington state. I wish I lived there and I hope the day comes when their ‘business plan’ dries up because **** **** and ******** put them out of business. When that service comes online, I will be out the door faster than you can say ‘speed test.’

The above comment is one of the most common ones that we’ve found, in regards to the shady business tactics. The fact that their sales representatives knowingly and willfully provide false information to potential customers, falls into the category of “misrepresentation.” Misrepresentation, in the legal sense,  is defined as: Getting into a contract with a person or a company on false grounds by making statements that are not in accordance with the facts.

What this means is that if the company misrepresents itself, its provided services, or information pertaining to the contract, that contract can be classified as void. All the consumer would have to do is prove it. Sadly for Viasat, there are hundreds of reviews that establish the claim of deceit against potential customers. But Viasat is accused of doing more than misrepresenting their service and plans. In at least one instance, they tricked a potential customer into signing a contract. A contract that they were completely unaware of until they attempted to cancel the service.

In response to a callout that we did, via Twitter and Facebook, one of their current customers sent us the following statement:

I have been with Viasat for a little over a year. During this time, I have never once gotten decent service. In fact, even when my service renewed, it still registered that I had used more data than what I was allotted. After months of dealing with this, I decided today was enough; I attempted to terminate my service. Now, before I continue, I need to backtrack. When I first signed up, I paid, as shown in the image provided, the entire equipment lease charge. I did this under the impression that by doing so, I would not be under a contract and that I would own the equipment. So, back to my termination attempt.

They tell me that I am under contract and that I do not own the equipment. I explain what I was told on the phone, only to get into an escalated conversation with the representative. I end up putting my service on a hibernation, which means they’re still going to take money out of my account. The company lied to me about being in a contract, they lied to me about the service quality, and now they’re trying to dupe me out of more money. This can’t be legal, is it?

Well, let’s go ahead and answer this one. No, it is not legal. In fact, with a good attorney, you might be able to make a fraud claim. Fraud is defined as: wrongful or criminal deception intended to result in financial or personal gain. Clearly, by informing you that you were not in a contract, when you were, they defrauded you. They defrauded you because they knew that if you attempted to cancel the service, you would be liable to pay an ETF for the remaining contractual months; this is where the personal gain comes in.

We’re still deep diving into this company. Because of the large number of complaints, we simply cannot cover it all in one article, there will be a PT: 2 in the near future. This company demonstrates the “why” people need to conduct a through investigation into any company to which they intend to conduct business. It’s unfortunate that so many people have learned this, after the fact. However, we’re going to do our part in preventing this from happening to other consumers.

Inside CPS: A story of survival

We've all seen the claims on Facebook. The claims of wrongfully taken children who are placed into foster care, and how the system violated the rights of the parents. This isn't one of those articles. This article is from the perspective of one of those children, now grown. In this article, we are giving the raw details, the only omission will be to their name, as per request. The reasons behind this will be clarified by the end. We also want to state, that the actual story being told is word-for-word what they sent us. Though we've separated the story into categories, this is 100% their experience within the system. 

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Daunte Wright: What went wrong?

The shooting of Daunte Wright can only be described as a sad tragedy. What should had been a simple traffic stop quickly escalated into a situation that would leave one man dead and an officer facing charges. What happened on the day Daunte was shot? Here’s what we currently know. On 04/11/2021,  Wright was pulled...

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American trucking company forces woman to suffer?

We all know the importance of the commercial drivers who traverse our highways. These men and women sacrifice weeks of their lives, living on the road, to deliver the products that we all use on a daily basis, without these brave individuals, our country would simply come to an abrupt halt. However, as we have reported before, the industry is riddled with flaws, corruption, and complete disregard for these individuals. If you are curious as to the source of all of this, you only need to look as far as the companies themselves. With that in mind, this brings us to a disturbing story that we have been made aware of. This story derives the transportation carrier, ‘Hirschbach Motor lines.’

Events unfolding

Recently, a serious winter storm struck most of the Midwest. Parts of the country, such as Oklahoma, Texas, and Louisiana to name a few, were at a complete disadvantage as they desperately attempted to ward off the ice and snow, which had accumulated on the roads. Meanwhile, in Denton TX., a driver and his fiancé were walking into a truck stop for food. This mere decision would become the start of a dispute that would last hours.

They returned to the semi with little issue. However, as the young woman began to climb up its steps, she suddenly slipped, falling to the ground, and ultimately breaking her arm. Multiple drivers attempted to assist the young woman, including her soon-to-be husband, eventually getting her safely into the vehicle. As per the company’s policy, the driver called to report the incident, citing that she was in immediate need of emergency assistance. The company disregarded this. As he continued to fight with company, the driver began utilizing what medical training he had in hopes of easing her pain.

The feud

The driver continued his contact with the dispatch department, only to be given answers that, according to the young woman, were impossible. He was given suggestions such as:

  1. Taking the entire truck and trailer to the hospital. We are told this was impossible simply because both vehicle and trailer could not fit into the parking lot.
  2. Call Uber or a taxi. This was impossible due to the winter storm, they simply weren’t operating their cabs or Ubers.
  3. Drop the trailer. While this was a feasible solution, the company refused to give the driver a drop location. Dropping the trailer without their consent could had potentially cost him a job or been deemed as an abandonment by the company, which we are told is a career ending accusation.

In the end, it would be more than twenty-four hours before the young woman would get to a medical professional. Not only is this a complete disregard for human life, which is apparently a common theme within companies, it’s illegal.

Synopsis

The facts here should be rather apparent. The situation involves a young woman, riding a commercial vehicle that is owned by the company. She has a misfortunate event that leads to a broken arm. The company, at this point, has a legal responsibility: they must get her medical treatment within a timely fashion. In not doing so, the company put her at risk of contracting an infection known as ‘osteomyelitis.’ This is an infection of the bone. Though uncommon, it can become a life-threatening situation.

Furthermore, the carrier allowed her to be on the semi, documents submitted to us further confirm that the company was fully aware of the fact that she was authorized to be present, this only furthers the company’s liability in this situation. By doing nothing, providing the driver with no plausible solution for getting her medical treatment, the company has only successfully created a potential act of litigation, one to which they could not possibly win.

From the editor

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America’s war on itself

Recent events have done nothing more than demonstrate the problem that has been ignored for many years. While many of us have known that this day would arrive, the vast majority sat in the comfort of their own homes, completely ignorant of what was about to come. Today, we’re going to review the rapid progression on the “war” against the American people. This is a war brought fourth by corporations and our very own government.

Election fiasco

It should be obvious that the vast majority believe the election was rigged. While our platform has always been critical of Trump, we were even more critical of the idea of having “mail-in” votes. The concept of mailing in your vote simply left to many variables for things to go wrong. While I’m not willing to blatantly state that the election was rigged, I am willing to entertain the idea that it is very likely. Even with that aside, even with my criticism of Donald Trump, I believe, without doubt, that he is being completely railroaded by Nancy Pelosi and her “goons.”

In recent months, we saw the first impeachment process against Trump. Let’s face the reality about that process, it was a bogus situation with nothing less than ill intent. Of course, this wasn’t the last attempt to destroy the now former president. In recent weeks, in a highly controversial and potentially illegal move, we witnessed a second impeachment. This process was based on the grounds that Trump incited a riot at the capital. But did he? Well, the tweets that they are using say nothing about condoning a riot. In fact, the term didn’t even appear in the tweets; the fact is, we simply could not find any tweet to which President Trump encouraged a riot. But what about the riot itself?

Mainstream media has really bitten into this one. We know things were stolen from the capital. We know that people were killed during this riot. But what many people don’t know is how this group successfully bypassed heavily armed Security, law enforcement, and even Secret Service agents to get into this building. For that, you only have to search for videos, which are being spread all over the internet. What we see in these videos are the police opening barricades to allow the protestors in. Police are seen talking with the protestors, interacting with these “dangerous” thugs. What I’m saying here should be clear: they got in because the police literally opened the doors for them. Because of these videos, some people are lead to believe that this was actually a bait to justify impeachment.

The second impeachment is highly questionable, at best. While it would still have to go court, even with the votes already being cast, Trump will no longer be in office when this happens. This would make him the first President to ever be impeached after already being removed from his position. Of course, the second impeachment is also a first. Meanwhile, as a result of this, tensions are quickly reaching a boiling point. I no longer believe that the possibility of civil war, I now wonder when it will happen.

Further tension arose with the questionable removal of Trump from social media. While many people are surprised and shocked by this, they really shouldn’t be. For years, Facebook has taken a stance to shutdown independent media platforms, or anybody who spoke against their supported political figure; Twitter is known to do the same, though not as extreme as Facebook. The basic point is: they’ve been censoring people for years now, with no accountability, and it’s not going to stop just because of who the person is. For those who are absolutely outraged by this, questions regarding our constitutional rights arise. Can a company do this? Well, that’s tricky. Technically, they are private companies. However, as I’ve said many times before, a company who is on the stock market falls into the category of being “public domain.”

Rather or not they can do this doesn’t mean they won’t. As our own government continues to put the nails into the coffin of our democracy, at the expense of the American people, we can expect to see many more reactions. The capital riot is just the start of what could very well become an outright war. While the government has the ability to prevent this, I don’t believe they will. If anything, I believe this is exactly what they’ve been wanting to happen. After all, anybody who’s observant can see that this tension has been slowly boiling for many years now.

What comes next?

Since last October, our team has had many discussions about this very article. We all knew that it would happen, it was simply unavoidable. This article is not only exposing the legal violations, policy violations, and abuse from Facebook, this article is serving as a testament of the results from these abuses. While we have written articles previously discussing what was being done to our team, it was agreed that we needed to write the conclusion to those articles.

If you followed us on Facebook, you already know what the results were. If you’ve been following, in general, you already know what has been occurring. However, if you aren’t aware, let’s start by giving you a quick rundown to get you up to speed on things.

In September, Facebook had done an unknown action that prevented our bot from automatically posting our articles to our Facebook page, this began shortly before the other events, which will be discussed shortly, began. It took us a few weeks to even notice that this had happened. While our website showed that Facebook was connected, Twitter was connected, and so fourth, the posts simply were not going up on Facebook. After attempting to resolve this issue, with no success, we began manually posting the articles.

Though this was rather annoying, we did what had to be done. For a few weeks things were fine; this changed around October 20th. One by one, admins of the WoC page were being completely blocked out of their profiles. They were unable to comment, like, post, share, etc. However, they were able to send instant messages. In total, five of the seven admins were completely blocked from doing anything on their accounts. Facebook offered no explanation, no resolution, not even a policy that was violated. We began sending daily disputes, though Facebook blocked us from doing this as well. Finally, out of desperation, I personally began sending messages to them via the “feedback” feature. After doing this for about a week, that too was blocked.

These blocks lasted until December 19th. The entire time, we could do nothing aside watch as the platform suffered from our lack of activity. During this time, the admin who had not been affected, took control of the platform. Finally, when we were unblocked, it was decided that we would tread cautiously; this did not work.

On December 25th, I got online to four messages. Once again, the admin were blocked on Facebook. I immediately checked my profile to find that, like last time, it was also blocked. This block lasts for thirty days. As with the previous block, we have no ability to contest it. In fact, looking into the “violations” section, shows nothing. Essentially, as far as Facebook is concerned, we aren’t blocked. Though I have, once again, begun sending feedback to the site, that has now also been blocked. With this, our team had a difficult choice to make. Do we continue operating on what is clearly a site that willfully violates constitutional rights, or do we shutdown?

With much discussion, we removed the platform from the public eye, we unpublished the page. While this was a move that none of us had wanted, there simply was no alternative action. Facebook has made it abundantly clear that we are being targeted, a violation of their harassment policy, in fact. Extending beyond that, it contradicts the very words of Mark Zuckerberg, who had stated that Facebook would not censor free speech. With the removal of our Facebook page, we effectively lost more than 97% of our followers. If you aren’t aware of what this means, it means War on Corruption is on a path toward shutting its doors, or the difficult path of having to rebuild the entire platform; at this time, we are still discussing our future.

Meanwhile, Facebook is not held accountable. We aren’t the first platform to be censored out in this way. CopBlock, Freedom Thought Project, and many others have been targeted by the social media giant. Around 2018, we witnessed what many called the “Facebook purge.” During this time dozens of independent media platforms were simply shutdown by Facebook. No explanation, no reason, not even an email explaining why. Thankfully, many of these platforms recovered. Hopefully, with time, we shall too.

Targeted

December 19th, marks the day that five of the seven members of the “War on Corruption” team got unbanned. For two months, we had fought a losing battle just to obtain information as to why we had gotten banned in the first place. While, to this day, nobody associated with the platform knows why we had gotten banned, it does seem that this is a calculated and deliberate attack against the platform.

Yesterday, December 25th, like so many around the world, I had a day that was filled to the brim in events. Between exchanging gifts, family time, etc. Facebook wasn’t even on the forefront of my mind. Later in the evening, when I had finally gotten some time, I check my messages. As it would turn out, I had four new messages from the same individuals who had recently gotten unblocked from Facebook. Every one of these messages were informing me that their accounts, once again, had been blocked. You can imagine my dismay to this.

At this point, I decide to take a quick glance at my profile. Although I had not been online for the entire day, it too was blocked. The vague reason being that I had violated their community standards. However, it didn’t inform me as to how I violated these vague standards nor did it show me anything that I had posted that could had been a violation. At this point, I had my confirmation: Facebook is maliciously, willfully, and with full intent, targeting my platform and harassing those associated with it. Now this is something important and I am about to explain why.

You may, or may not, be aware of this: In 2012 Facebook placed itself into the stock market. This was good financially, but very bad for how Facebook is currently operating. Because they are in the stock market, they are no longer a private company. That’s also important to note. Being that they are no longer a private company, it is no longer a question as to rather or not they can simply run the show however they see fit. For example, in a private setting, your constitutional rights don’t mean a thing. For Facebook, who is now in the public setting, the coin flips. They can’t simply censor out your rights.

Unlike the first go around, those of us who have been shadow banned from the site, have opted to simply delete our profiles. In doing so, we have effectively destroyed our own platform, by force courtesy of Facebook and it’s tyrannical approach to freelance journalism. In the meantime, we continue to seek out others who have been targeted in this way, we continue our search for a civil rights attorney, with the hope of putting an end to the illegal activities being conducted by Facebook. Until that time, we still debate the final fate for the platform on Facebook. However, one thing is cemented: It will be removed at some point.

Are retailers violating the HIPAA ACT?

With the COVID situation running rampant, it shouldn’t be a surprise that your medical information is now being forced to be presented to employers. Failing to do so is met with consequences, loss of employment, or even suspension without pay. However, some employers, such as Dollar Tree, have taken this a step further. They not only ask for your medical information, they are accused of asking for information pertaining to related to the employee. With this accusation, a member of our team applied, got the job, and tested this theory out. This article is going to present information provided to us by a former employee and the results of what we learned first hand.

HIPAA

The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability (HIPAA) Act was designed in 1996 with the purpose of protecting sensitive medical information. With this act, doctors are forbidden from divulging information of any patient without having prior written consent. However, the act expands beyond that aspect. With the HIPAA Act, patients have control of their medical information, they can choose who to provide this information to, and it limits what medical information an employer can obtain; this last portion is where our article is primarily focused.

While this act doesn’t necessarily pertain to employers, there are aspects of it that do. For instance, under the HIPPA Act, an employee is not required to divulge their medical files, or even diagnosis and treatment. While we are currently in a pandemic, this changes nothing as the HIPPA Act simply does not address situations such as this. An employer asking an employee the results of a Covid test could be taken as a violation as, once again, a patient is not required to give the employee their diagnosis or treatment information. This brings us to the retail industry, who seem to ask their employees for this very piece of vital information.

Retails intrusive questions

With the information we had obtained from a source, our platform decided to go “inside” and find out for ourselves. For this, a member of our team applied at a local “Dollar Tree.” This location was selected because it was the company that we had gotten the complaint about. Like magic, the application was approved and we had our feet in the door. At this point, the investigation commenced.

The first night was uneventful. No questions were asked, just the typical “pre-opening” work. Shelves were stocked, boxes were stored, that sort of thing. Our new insider had begun to question rather or not the accusations were, in fact, even true. After working for hours, we had initially thought the investigation was a fluke. This conclusion didn’t last long, however. Prior to the insider’s employment, we had already established that if they did ask any of the questions, they were to answer at least one of them with “yes.”

The reason behind this was simply to see what the store would do in this situation. We already had established that answering “no” gave you the “right” to work, we wanted the other end of the spectrum. On night two, our insider reports that they arrived at the store. Upon entering, they were immediately stopped and asked some questions. Because this was being recorded, we are providing the very questions that were asked. We are also providing the response given by our insider.

The questions

Q: Have you been around anybody who has tested positive for Covid?

A: If I had been, there is no way that I could possibly know, so I’m going to say no. It is important to note that the employer is marked with (Q) while our insider is marked with (A.)

Q: In the past 24 hours, have you been around anybody who has been tested for Covid?

A: Yes.

Q: Wait, you’ve been around somebody who got tested for Covid?

A: Yeah.

Q: Do you know the results of their tests? (Highlighted as this question potentially violates HIPPA.)

A: No, I don’t know their tests results. Why?

Q: Because that means you can’t come into work.

A: What do you mean I can’t come to work, why not?

Q: Because you’re putting the entire store at risk.

A: Uh, okay, that makes no sense but whatever.

It’s important to note a few things within these questions. The first is the redundancy of the first question. If this had not been our insider, but another employee, they would already be at a high risk of exposure, they’re working retail. The second thing to note is what HIPAA says about asking for test results: they aren’t permitted to know what a diagnosis or treatment is. If the test were to be a positive, the employer is not permitted to know this as the patient would be diagnosed with Covid. Branching beyond that, the employer is also not permitted to know what the treatment plan for the said diagnosis is. Essentially, asking this question is a legal situation in the making. With a good attorney, this company could face a rather hefty penalty.

While all of the questions are intrusive, the specific question asking for test results, especially regarding those not employed with the company, is the smoking gun for any “litigation-happy” disgruntled employee. Expanding beyond the questions, we are left with one unanswered question: why the inconsistency?  On the first night of employment, our insider received no questions prior to their shift. However, on the second night, they were questioned. If the employers policy regarding “safety” was so serious, wouldn’t they be asking these intrusive questions prior to every shift?

While this subject, especially now, remains highly controversial, it is one that should be discussed. The question asking, “how far is to far?” is simply not asked enough. In this year alone, we have seen some of the worst violations to our rights than at any point in America’s history. Our right to religious freedom being a primary example. During this time, we saw ministers being arrested simply for refusing to cease with the practice of their religious freedoms, in the way that their religions required. But the violations didn’t start, nor did they end, there. For now, we will simply ask this one question: Will Americans ever say “enough is enough?”

 

Editorial Statement

Due to the backlash on Twitter, we are clarifying that this article is purely opinion. We are asking a question, noted by the title, and are simply responding with our thoughts. While the companies may not be violating HIPAA, by requesting information of people, who are not employed with them, we can at least establish that the privacy of those individuals have been violated.