5 Reasons You Might Be Breaching Employee Privacy Laws

5 Reasons You Might Be Breaching Employee Privacy Laws

Employees always have a certain number of rights when it comes to working. These are important rights and are inherent to any worker. Just a sample of these lawfully given rights includes fair compensation, freedom from discrimination, and the right to privacy. The government on all levels takes these rights seriously and the laws are there in place to help protect employees of all types from losing those rights, from discrimination and unsafe working conditions and more.

While most employers don’t intend to break any of these rules, many employers inadvertently do so. This is especially true when it comes to breaching employee privacy laws. The following are common ways, data protection consultants pointed out, that rules and regulations are inadvertently broken.

1) Publishing mobile phone numbers

While its true that many people nowadays have only one phone number, and it is a mobile one, but that is personal information unless the number is a provided work cell phone. Anytime that information is otherwise made public even within the company, it’s a violation. That includes spreadsheets of contract information or phone trees.

While these are important for being able to find people to cover a shift if someone is sick, or for getting a hold of someone on a project, what if that list falls into the wrong hands? What if some other employees use that information to stalk and harass? As inconvenient as it can be, you need to find another way other than publishing mobile phone numbers.

2) Don’t use your e-mail for sensitive conversations

If the situation feels like something that should be handled in person, a good rule of thumb is to handle it in person. Too often an employer uses e-mail for everything: good, bad, and otherwise. However, it can be really easy to accidentally forward this type of information, copy it, or otherwise push sensitive information in the open in a way they shouldn’t. Be very cautious using e-mail.

3) Having employee files in an unsecured area

There is just no excuse for this and it should never happen. Depending on what nation or area you’re in, you need to keep previous records for 5 years, 7 years, or even 10 years or more. Those records shouldn’t be in boxes in an unlocked room. They need to be protected both online and offline.

4) Not disposing of employee information that is out of date

Even information like previous phone numbers or previous addresses can be dangerous in the hands of identity thieves. Once the data is out of date, if it isn’t specifically required by law to keep it then you are obligated to destroy it.

5) Not having a reliable data protection policy enforcement

Having rules about data protection is one thing, but you still need the tools to provide that protection as well as policies and standards that are actually enforced. Rules don’t mean anything if there is absolutely zero consequence to ignoring them. This isn’t just for the protection of the employees, but it also protects the business if a data breach occurs or issue comes up.

Without these, it’s possible for lawsuits to abound. Depending on the industry, the rules broken, or the specific issue, it’s even possible for situations like these to lead to government action, getting shut down, and more. These are serious issues that need to be handled with the same amount of care and focus that they deserve.

By looking at these common five issues you will be less likely to accidentally breach those data privacy protections that are so important.

Categories: Business

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