The article is very well done; the reporter did some legwork that is for sure. Notice how the WT representatives talk out of both sides of their mouth.
says there is no policy forcing members to report sinful acts or divulge private information
The key word here is forcing. But no. It's just a strong suggestion, with a concluding sentence advising the JW that it is up to their individual conscience.
A 1987 article in the church's Watchtower magazine, which the church says is its most recent on the subject
Did he mention that every dedicated JW has a copy of this article on their handy CD? How many other churches have written ANY article about disclosing confidential information? By writing about it at all, the society indeed does control the "conscience" of every member of the society.
"We cannot ignore Caesar's law or the seriousness of an oath, but Jehovah's law is supreme,'' it reads.
And there is the clincher. Reporting to the elders overrides HIPAA.
Adam G. Linett, associate general counsel with the Jehovah's Witnesses, said employers shouldn't fear HIPAA penalties for unauthorized disclosures because sanctions in the act are aimed at employees.
But, obviously, if the employers are found to be negligent in their hiring practice...
Also, would a regular JW understand the implications of this statement? If an individual JW reports confidential information to an elder, they will be fined. And the society will let them carry the full load of the penalty. After all, they followed their own "conscience".
And, Mr. Linett said, he "can't think of a single case where this has happened and resulted in a lawsuit
He didn't look either, did he?