What to do about an invasion of privacy by my employer?

My family was experiencing severe financial difficulties. I went to the HR department at work and initiated a hardship withdrawal from my 401k. HR was sending an email to the 401k bank containing information about my financial difficulties including information about the impending eviction from my home but sent it to all employees of the company by mistake. I know several of my co-workers read it for they have asked me what happened. Is there cause for action here?

Asked on March 10, 2012 under Employment Labor Law, South Carolina

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

There probably is no cause of action. When something is done accidentally, or by mistake--rather than deliberately--there generally is no liability except for actual losses or damage (like losing a job or membership in some organization). Typically, there is no recovery in cases of negligence (carelessness) for simple embarassment or emotional upset. Therefore, unless you can show some economic loss or other material consequence from this mistake, there is nothing you could recover in a lawsuit.


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