Can an employer distribute an employee’s personal information among the staff without consideration of privacy or security?

UPDATED: Jan 17, 2011

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UPDATED: Jan 17, 2011Fact Checked

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Can an employer distribute an employee’s personal information among the staff without consideration of privacy or security?

My employer published a hard copy list of employees and distributed it among the staff (including part-time employees). The list had my name, position with the company, home address, home telephone, personal cell phone, birthdate, and spouse’s name. I asked them to remove me from the list, and they will do it once, but by the next list it’s back. I’m nervous about this information being in paper form with 75 (or so) employees in a 24/7 busines, especiallys with clients coming in the building all hours of the day. Can they legally distribute this much information about you?

Asked on January 17, 2011 under Employment Labor Law, Texas


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 12 years ago | Contributor

Except arguably for birthdate--which probably should not be included; especially since it's also information that is sometimes used to validate security, retrieve passwords, etc.--the information you describe is not "personal" and is not private. Instead, it's  your contact information and your position with. It is neither improper nor uncommon for companies to require employees to share their contact information with the company (and the spouse is a contact; e.g. an emergency contact) and with coworkers, to facilitate collaboration and getting in contact with each other in the event of  work or medical emergency. A company can require this. So while including the birthdate is unusual, and the company would be better off not doing so, what your employer is doing does not appear to be improper or prohibited.

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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