Can my employer open my W2?

UPDATED: Sep 30, 2022

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Can my employer open my W2?

I was told by a former employee of mine (I was a manager) that my former employer opened my W2. They then placed it in a new envelope and had her write my address on it and told her to mail it to me, without my permission for her to have it. She also told me that the employer mailed everyone else’s

themselves except mine which they gave her to mail. Due to this this strange behavior, she is afraid to mail it so has agreed to bring it to me. Is there anything illegal about them opening it and what can I do about it?

Asked on January 22, 2017 under Employment Labor Law, Kentucky


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

Your employer often creates the W2 (if they don't have a payroll service do it for them) and has full access to the information in it, which they either provide (i.e. what you are paid) or had access to in your file(s) anyway (e.g. your social security number). There is nothing illegal about them accessing your W2.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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