Is inadvertently disclosing a prospective employee’s social security legally actionable number?

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Is inadvertently disclosing a prospective employee’s social security legally actionable number?

Pre-employee signed an authorization to utilize his information through Kronos (employment software) in an effort to get hired. The employer’s system was not working correctly. Hiring manager sends out a group email with a copy of the Kronos’ page to show what the problem is, asking for assistance to get this person hired. The copied page had his social security number on it. If you have authorization, did the hiring manager do anything wrong?

Asked on August 12, 2014 under Personal Injury, Illinois

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 7 years ago | Contributor

The manager and company may have done something wrong in the sense that this information should not have been disclosed in this fashion; it may have been negligent, or unreasonably careless, to have released it this way. However, you cannot sue for theoretical or possible harm, only actual harm. So IF the information is then misused (e.g. to defraud you; for identity theft; to steal from you; etc.) by someone who only found out your social security number due to its incorrect widespread release, you may have a viable lawsuit for damages or compensation. However, if--as we hope--no harm comes to you, there is no basis for a lawsuit, since you cannot receive compensation in the absence of a loss for which you should be compensated.


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