communication that reaches, or is sure to reach the public." Restatement (Second) of Torts, § 652D, comment (a) (1977). See also Vogel, 458 Pa. at 131-32, 327 A.2d at 137.
Plaintiff alleges that one individual at HUP was informed of the terms of her separation agreement at a meeting of hospital staff members, while another person was informed by one of the named defendants personally. Therefore, it is alleged that the private facts became common knowledge at HUP. These facts, viewed in the light most favorable to the plaintiff, do not constitute the requisite level of "publicity" required to state a valid claim. Publication to the community of employees at staff meetings and discussions between defendants and other employees is clearly different from the type of public disclosure found in cases relied upon by plaintiff. Compare Biederman's of Springfield, Inc. v. Wright, 322 S.W.2d 892 (Mo. 1959) (loud declarations of indebtedness in a public restaurant); Housh v. Peth, 99 Ohio App. 485, 135 N.E.2d 440, aff'd, 165 Ohio St. 35, 133 N.E.2d 340 (1956) (creditor's systematic campaign to harass debtor included calling plaintiff out of the classroom three times within fifteen minutes and making numerous telephone calls over three week period to plaintiff and her supervisors); see also, Brents v. Morgan, 221 Ky. 765, 299 S.W. 967 (1927) (automobile repairman placed large notice in show window of garage calling attention to customer's overdue account). Compare Vogel (four persons, three relatives and one employer, contacted in connection with debtor's account, did not constitute publication).
In Rogers v. International Bus. Machines Corp., 500 F. Supp. 867 (W.D. Pa. 1980), an employee discharged after fourteen years of service brought an action claiming, inter alia, invasion of privacy under § 652D. The court granted summary judgment to the defendant reasoning that "[the] information was conveyed only to employees of IBM with a duty, responsibility and a need for such information in order to properly address the concerns of subordinate employees. To suggest that such discussions constitute publication is contrary to the holding in Vogel. . . . Without proof of publication, the claim for invasion of privacy must fail." 500 F. Supp. at 870. Although there may have been neither a duty nor a responsibility of the HUP employees to hear the terms of plaintiff's separation agreement, her absence and the reasons for her absence was clearly information which they would want, or feel a need, to know. Imparting this information at a staff meeting or in response to individual questions by employees would be appropriate and would not constitute publication. Plaintiff's assertion that disclosures to the employees constituted publication to "almost the entire universe of those who might have some awareness or interests in such facts," even if assumed to be true, would not constitute "publicity" but a mere spreading of the word by interested persons in the same way rumors are spread.
Plaintiff's claim also fails because the alleged disclosures are not the kind which are outrageous or highly offensive to the ordinary reasonable person. Plaintiff alleges that the terms of her separation agreement, i.e., that she received a lump sum separation payment of eleven months of her salary and that she resigned rather than accept a lower level position, are hardly matters by which a reasonable person would feel justifiably and seriously aggrieved, even if untrue.
Assuming, arguendo, there were publicity which was unreasonable, it still must be found that the facts were private. Plaintiff contends throughout her complaint that the policies of HUP and the University were not followed. Without belaboring the point, had plaintiff received what she contends she was entitled to, then the facts of her potential termination, as well as her negative evaluation reports and other items of her employment history at HUP, would have presumably been disclosed to at least the same extent as they were allegedly disclosed by the defendants. HUP's Discipline Policy provides: "No employee will be discharged from staff without a full hearing . . . ." Id. Para. 3. "The persons present at a disciplinary hearing may include: (Employees), Supervisor of employee, and/or Department Head, Administrative representative, and the Director of Personnel Management, or designee, as the Hearing Officer. All pertinent factual data and/or testimony will be considered at the hearing and a final decision rendered within five (5) working days after the hearing." Id. Para. 5. "An employee will be permitted to have other hospital employees or persons approved present at the hearing to give factual data." Id. Para. 6. Confidentiality is not guaranteed by this written policy nor by University policies 701 and 704 by which plaintiff also claims relief. Moreover, any legitimate inquiry made of the University or HUP regarding plaintiff's employment record by potential future employers would have revealed what was reflected therein. Thus, the facts were not private contrary to plaintiff's assertion.
Thus, the court has found that there was no publicity of the facts alleged and, further, that even if there had been, it was not unreasonable nor given to private facts. Accordingly, the motion for summary judgment on count XI of the amended complaint will be granted.
An appropriate order follows.
AND NOW, this 20th day of July, 1983, it is hereby ORDERED for the reasons set forth in the accompanying memorandum, that defendants' motion for summary judgment on remaining Counts VII, VIII, IX, X and XI of plaintiff's complaint is GRANTED. JUDGMENT is entered in favor of the defendants and against the plaintiff.