Is a resume considered confidential in an employee’s personnel file?

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Is a resume considered confidential in an employee’s personnel file?

A new business manager, guardian of personnel files, snooped through a colleague’s personnel file and examined his resume. This colleague is a three-year established employee. The business manager is not a supervisor and did not have permission. The business manager then told me that he looked through our colleague’s resume and found it lacking in experience, just to make him look bad. Is this a breach of confidentiality?

Asked on April 27, 2018 under Employment Labor Law, Oregon

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 2 years ago | Contributor

No, there is nothing confidential about an employee's resume. The very nature of a resume is that it is essentially a public document: sent to recruiters, to potential employers, often posted on line, sometimes sent out in mass or cold mailings, etc. If something is by its nature sent out to the many people, it lacks confidential status. 
That's the law: it is posisble that internal company policies may make the resume confidential, since companies have the right to set their own policies or rules about who may see what information. So this could be a violation of company policy but is not illegal.


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