What are an employee’s privacy rights?

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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What are an employee’s privacy rights?

My boss discussed and disclosed child support matters in front of all of my co-workers. I work for a small company so now everyone knows my personal information. As an employee, did my boss have the right to discuss this sensitive matter in front of my co-workers. Also, I work for a small law firm that handles personal injuries and have also worked in the medical field so I know about HIPPA laws. This law firm transmits SSN’s, dates of birth amongst other private information on a daily basis, shouldn’t sensitive information be encrypted? My information was also sent to the accountant via fax with my SSN on the paperwork. Can he do that since he is a lawyer?

Asked on May 22, 2018 under Employment Labor Law, North Dakota


M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

Actually, there are no privacy rights in the workplace unless provided for under the terms of an employment contract or union agreement. The fact is that a company can set the conditions of the workplace much as it sees fit (absent some form of legally actionable discirmination, which does not appear to be the case here). 

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