Employees have certain rights at work, which includes the right to privacy, as well as being free of discrimination and to receive fair compensation. Federal and state governments have implemented a range of laws to protect employees. This includes protecting them from unfair labour practices, discrimination, unsafe work conditions and so forth.
Generally speaking, you have to treat personal info as confidential info. The same goes for their family. With that said, Trident Assurance Services have listed below five different ways you might be breaching privacy laws in regards to employees:
1. Making Personal Numbers Public
If you use apps like Excel, then the chances are you’re listing people’s mobile numbers when you are working out rosters and schedules. This is so you can contact them if they are not at work when they’re supposed to be. You might need to call in another person to cover an employee’s shift.
However, you are putting your employees’ safety at risk if you’re making a schedule that contains the above info. This is making it public. This also means you’re putting your business at risk.
Sure, it’s easy to find someone to replace an employee who called out sick, but what happens if the phone numbers fall into someone’s hands who has ill intentions? We might think this will never happen, but it can and it does happen. Identity theft continues to become more common, and you might be abetting a stalker. This means you’re potentially exposing yourself to a lawsuit.
2. Having Sensitive Conversations via Email
Many companies use email to communicate all sorts of information, and this includes the good stuff and the bad stuff, right down to the downright ugly stuff. However, you are likely forwarding and copying sensitive information to others, and this can land you in some deep trouble and cause your reputation to take a huge hit. When it comes to communicating via email, make sure you choose the platform you are going to use wisely.
3. Not Keeping Employee Files Secure
Most businesses keep records. This can be a hassle, but it is necessary. In fact, sometimes it is required.
In Australia, you have to keep records on your employees for seven years, which includes info such as entitlements, their name, pay rate and commencement date. Businesses based in America have to retain various tax records for four years. If a workplace injury happens, then it’s advisable to retain records for at least 10 years.
You don’t have to keep important info on paper files because they are too easy to compromise. Instead of doing that, save files online. Use a storage that is secure and allows you to access files around the clock.
4. Poor Housekeeping
You have to get rid of info that is out of date, and this is just as important as retaining accurate records. Keeping employee info longer than what the law requires is asking for trouble. In fact, you might be at risk of being faced with legal challenges in regards to how you protect data.
5. Not Enforcing Data Protection Policy
You have to enforce your data protection policy. It’s no good just having one in place. Plus, not enforcing your policy will only put your company at risk if you get sued.
When you implement a protection policy, make sure it’s tailored to your company. You need to clearly explain to your workers what your data protection policy entails and how it is used. Don’t forget to have your workers sign and date the policy and always keep files because this gives you proof that you enforce your data protection policy.