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According to Kenton, “Privileged communication is an interaction between two parties in which the law recognizes a private, protected relationship. Whatever is communicated between the parties remains confidential, and the law cannot force their disclosure. Even disclosure by one of the parties comes with legal limitations. There are, however, exceptions that can invalidate a privileged communication and various circumstances under which it can be waived, either deliberately or unintentionally. Commonly cited relationships where privileged communication exists are those between attorney and client, doctor or therapist and patient, and priest and parishioner.” In other words, privileged communication works on the principles of trust and loyal between the two parties. The trust that each party has for one another allows them to feel it is fine to disclose all the details necessary to assist each other their particular situation. The loyal between the two parties give them the peace of mind that the information shared between them should not be shared with others. For instance, when someone is on trial for murder, the client’s best interest is to tell his lawyer the truth about his or her involvement in that crime. By admitting the truth to his or her lawyer, it allows the lawyer to build the best case for his or her client based on the perceived evidence the prosecutor has against him or her. The worst thing the client could do is lie about the situation because the lawyer may present the case in a way that does not benefit his or her client. Even when the client admits he committed the murder to his lawyer, the lawyer is not able to disclose this information to any one, especially in the court of law. This information will be inadmissible in court and the lawyer could be disbarred for providing this admission because it violates the client’s rights.
Confidentiality communication is very similar to privileged communication; in fact, confidentiality communication can be considered a form of privileged communication. Confidentiality communication is, “A form of privileged communication passes from one individual to another, intended to be heard only be the individual addressed.” What makes confidential communication slightly different from privileged communication is, “If this type of communication is made in the presence of a third party, whose presence is not the necessary for such communication, it is not considered privileged,” (“Confidential Communication”). Therefore, confidentiality communication relies on the same principles as privileged communication but instead the client and/or the other party does not seem to mind if the information being discussed is heard by a third party. In the example with the lawyer, if the lawyer’s legal assistant sits-in during this conversation, then that information is no longer considered privilege. Even though it is no longer considered privileged, this information is still considered confidential because the lawyer’s assistant must also respect the client’s rights. Even though this information was heard by a willing third party, this information is still inadmissible in court because this information still was attained through this law firm and it cannot be “illegally revealed, not for publication, not to be communicated, not to be disclosed, not to be quoted, and not to be spoken about,” (“Confidential Communication”). Confidentiality communication rights could be lost if spoken in a public place, jailhouse conversation via phone, inviting others to be present, or sharing the conversation with others later (Bergman, 2019). Therefore, the law and client need to make sure that their conversation occurs in a private setting to avoid eavesdropping.
Private communication is oral communication, or any telecommunication made under circumstances creating a reasonable expectation of privacy (“Public vs. Private”). When it comes to private communication, this communication occurs between two or more parties in a disclosed location to avoid other parties from hearing their conversation. Even though private communication only consists of the parties that are part of the conversation, this does not mean that this conversation is confidential or privileged. In other words, the information that is discussed in a private conversation is not protected with the same rights as a privilege communication or a confidentiality communication. Using the lawyer example, if the client decides to let his or her brother sit-in and listen to the information the defendant and his or her lawyer is discussing, then this conversation is no longer privileged or confidential because now it is considered private. The rights to privileged communication is waived because a third party that is not involved with the case has privilege knowledge about the case. If the prosecutor in this case has knowledge of this meeting, then he or she could subpoena the defendant’s brother to testify what he heard in this meeting. “This means that the D.A. might be able to ask the stranger (or brother) or even the defendant about what was said during the meeting,” (Bergman, 2019).
One of the most important aspects of confidentiality in relation with my profession is trust building. As a day treatment counselor, one of my requirements is to help my clients manage their behavior and stay focus in school. No matter how great of a job I do at motivating my clients and helping them manage their behavior, the relationship between my client, their parents, and myself will be negatively impacted if I am not able to keep my client’s information in confidence. The parents may request that their child receives a different counselor or I may even be fired due to my negligence to protect my client’s personal information. If the parents only express disapproval with my actions, then my client may be reluctant to provide me necessary information what could be beneficial to helping them because I broke the trust between them and myself. In contrast, the more my client is able to express to me about his emotions and behavior the closer he or she may feel towards me. In addition, to the information my client tells me, the more he or she noticed that the information he or she tells me is not shared with others will help builds trust in our relationship.
In a scenario where I am training a new employee I would remind them of the three different types of communications. I will emphasize the importance of building trust with their clients by knowing which conversations are confidential and which conversations are private. Typically, if the conversation is confidential then the counselor should keep that conversation between them and their clients. On the other hand, if the conversation is private then they are able to discuss this information only when it is deemed necessary. For instance, if their client is telling them that they will fight a certain student at lunchtime, then that teacher should be aware of those comments. Even though their client may have told them that in private, that information is necessary to relay to their teacher to help avoid this potential altercation. I would inform the new employee that the only time that confidential and/private conversations should be breach is when it is for the safety of their clients and the safety of others. In a scenario where, a student has a lot of aggression as well as having an unhealthy obsession for guns, is a situation where providing confidential information will be determined necessary if his or her aggression get worse or he or she increasing the mentioning of guns. Since the students’ safety is the number one goal at my school, I will make it clear to the new employee that he or she can always breach confidentiality communication.
Bergman, P. (2019). Your Lawyer’s Duty to Keep Things Confidential. Nola. Retrieved from https://www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/your-lawye…
Confidential Communication. The Free Dictionary by Farlex. Retrieved from https://legal-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/con…