Invasion of privacy in workplace

UPDATED: Sep 30, 2022

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Invasion of privacy in workplace

Have recently learned that my personnel file at my employer is not secure and is available for anyone to view. It contains all of my personal information, including social security number, address and medical information regarding a surgery I had many years ago. My employer is a very large corporation with subsidiaries and locations located around the globe. It appears that employees files and private information is not being properly protected. What type of legal rights do I have to get this issue fixed company wide and make sure that employees privacy records are kept confidential?

Asked on February 8, 2017 under Employment Labor Law, South Carolina


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

You don't have any good options:
1) You could bring a lawsuit seeking a court order that they keep certain information secure, but such a suit is an expensive proposition and the outcome will only apply to you and any other employees who join with you in the suit (unless the company voluntarily settles on a broader basis), since a lawsuit's outcome only affects those participating in it.
2) IF any actual harm befalls you which can be traced to poor data security at your employer (e.g. another employee opens accounts in your name or engages in identity theft using your unsecured social security number), you could potentially sue your employer for the losses provably caused by their negligence.

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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