Can an employer tell co-workers in a meeting that a person has been to prison?

The person was not present during meeting. They have worked for the employer for over a year. The employer told entire staff and not the person who it involves. Can an employer do this, as the person is not on parole and the prison sentence is over 7 years old?

Asked on September 3, 2011 under Employment Labor Law, Kansas


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

There is nothing illegal about sharing publically available information--and the fact of a criminal conviction and the resulting prison sentence are, except for a few special cases, public information which anyone could, if so inclined, discover. Those special cases would involve some sort of judicial order, or possibly expungement, putting the information off limits and out of the public eye. However, other than that, it is public information, and there is no privacy expectation in public information and no penalty for disclosing it. If the information was untrue or incorrect, then there is the possibility that the person who was thereby defamed may have a cause of action for defamation. That fact that information is 7 years old (or older) may make it less relevant, but does not affect legality.

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