Scenario: A key employee resigns and you find that they have shared private and personal information about your customers on Facebook.
Nowadays, employers collect a great deal of personal information about their employees, customers, patients, clients, and others along the course of the work day. Companies use employees’ personal information for many reasons such as administration of payroll, employee benefit plans, and evaluation of employment applications, the handling of independent contractors, terminated employees, retired employees and so forth. In this computer dependent age, personal data is being shared and transferred between organizations online; and thus, maintaining compliance with applicable data privacy laws is an ever increasing responsibility of employers.
Companies need to be aware of their obligations under the profusion of data protection laws and regulations that govern the collection, use and transfer of personal information. Additionally, data privacy laws include not only active employee information, but extend to any non-employee groups whose personal data they may acquire.
Minimizing Employer Risk
The Petaluma employment law attorneys at Beck Law P.C. suggest the following to attempt to minimize employer risk.
Companies should seek counsel annually with an experienced employment law attorney, to acquire the appropriate legal interpretive guidance on compliance matters so as to avoid legal violations and security breaches involving employee personal data.
Policies should include legal language specifically directed to employee procedures in regard to data privacy to ensure the best practices that aim to limit the amount of personal data they collect, process, transfer and store.
Companies should limit access to personal data and provide training to staff that handles personal data.
Companies should include legal language in their policies stating that business computers will be monitored and reviewed periodically to ensure employees are applying appropriate security measures regarding personal data.
Even Still: All the precautionary measures in the world will not stop a dishonest employee from selling your business’s personal information, such as your customer social security numbers online and you, as the business owner will be held accountable for their actions.
There is absolutely nothing an employer can to do to prevent an employee from texting information from their personal phone or simpler still, writing down the information and throwing it in their purse or pocket before walking out the door.
Therefore, the labor and employment attorneys at Beck Law P.C. offer these further tips:
Perform all due diligence during the interview process when hiring a new employee. Take your time, and have multiple interviews so that you begin to trust the person you are about to hire, before you hire them. Call all references and carefully listen to not only what they say, but more importantly, what they don’t say. Ask lots of questions to cull out information that may give you more clues to this person’s integrity. Use your intuition, and perform all interviews with other trusted staff members to get their feedback, and if any one of you feel something is not quite right with this person’s integrity, move on until you feel very comfortable with who you are going to hire.
For current employees: Know your employees, be attentive and listen to them, use good communication and eye contact. Always honor and praise good work. Be on the look- out for suspicious behavior such as when an employee uses negative body language or challenges you in ways that you find inappropriate to the situation, as this may an indication of guilt that they may be doing something behind your back. Listen to other employees who report that they do not feel comfortable about another employee’s actions. If you feel a negative feeling about an employee, trust your feeling, as you are most likely correct. If you suspect and employee of dishonesty, begin your due diligence research and contact an experienced employment attorney, such as Beck Law P.C. to handle the appropriate legal remedy and counseling process to remove said employee from your work place.