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Q: Public release of employee information ( No Answer,   2 Comments )
Subject: Public release of employee information
Category: Miscellaneous
Asked by: lokiloki-ga
List Price: $20.00
Posted: 05 Feb 2003 09:24 PST
Expires: 07 Mar 2003 09:24 PST
Question ID: 157646
The company I work for has, without our consent, recently posted
employee information (i.e., name, address, phone number, work address,
work phone number, work hours, etc.) to a third party web site.  Then,
after the fact, coerced us (with a "MUST DO" statement from the Human
Resources Department)into "registering" to this site to "verifiy" the
information they had already provided.

Our company has since refused to back down from their position and
remove these registrations upon our request, in fact, they keep
resubmitting our info after attempts to delete this information from
the web site ourselves.

My question is in the following three parts:

Does a company have a right to release employee information to a third
party without consent of the employee?

If so, what type of information may be released?

And, under what condition and/or restrictions?

Request for Question Clarification by missy-ga on 05 Feb 2003 10:00 PST

Preliminary research indicates that this varies from state to state. 
In Texas, for instance, the following information is considered

# Employee name
# Sex
# Ethnicity 
# Salary
# Title
# Dates of employment

Likewise, address, phone number and SSN may be made public as well
*UNLESS* the employee specifically states in writing that these may
not be disclosed.

If you could tell me what state you live in, I will be glad to track
down the specifics for your state.


Clarification of Question by lokiloki-ga on 05 Feb 2003 11:38 PST
The company is headquatered in Norfolk, Va., the facility I work at is
located in Arizona.

Clarification of Question by lokiloki-ga on 05 Feb 2003 14:22 PST
Thanks Missy, for your efforts.  They are greatly appreciated.  I've
been running into the same "split" answers myself.

I have tried numerous attorneys, just haven't found the right one yet.

Thanks Again, Lokiloki

Request for Question Clarification by serenata-ga on 05 Feb 2003 18:12 PST
Hello Lokiloki-ga ...

Two questions come to mind ... 

1.) Does your company have an Employee handbook? And if so, are there
any provisions in it about privacy issues and releasing information to
third parties?

2.) Without knowing the circumstances of who the third party is and
the capacity in which your information is posted, does the third party
have a published Privacy Policy? Most reputable Internet businesses do
publish a Privacy Policy in keeping with the recommendations by EPIC
  (Electronic Privacy Information Center)  -
 Privacy.Org -

 Recommendations by the FTC (Federal Trade Commission), which handles
a LOT of complaints about online privacy matters -

 Privacy International - - which deals
with privacy issues with government and businesses.

It could be possible to tell the third party they do not have your
permission to publish your information on their website, citing their
own privacy policy if they have one, and then just send the
information to the above organizations.

As a business person myself, I would not wish to be in the line of
those organization's investigations. I would also not wish to leave
myself open for liability issues which may arise from publishing the
information on an individual who specifically asked me not to.

Just some ideas which may help,


Clarification of Question by lokiloki-ga on 06 Feb 2003 06:29 PST
Thanks for the support guys.

To Serenata:

1.  The company did, in fact, have a published policy against this
very thing.  It was published on their own corporate web site under
their "Policies & Procedures" link.  It had an "effective date - July
1, 2002" on it, superceding an "effective date" of the same document
from 1999 (I think they just put a new time stamp on an old policy, I
remember seeing it before, but can't say if it's the exact same copy).
 3 hours after my supervisor asked where I had found this document
(apparently the Human Resouces Department & some of the upper
management at my facility aren't aware of some of their own policies)
I was told that this policy was "outdated".  I immediately rechecked
the corporate web site and sure enough, the policy had already been
removed!  Just a little too convenient, I thought.  Corporate can act
pretty quickly when it's in their own best interest!  This is when I
thought there must be something to this beyond just the company

2.  I have contacted the third party and asked them about their
policy.  I received a reply from them skirting the issue.  They just
rambled on about how "secure" their web site is, about how THEY don't
release information to the public, about how we can go about removing
this information from their web site ourselves, etc., etc..  I
couldn't really tell for sure, since they didn't provide a direct
answer to the question I asked, but I think they're wanting me to
believe that because their web site is fully automated, they don't
have any control over the information my company chooses to place on
their web site.  I'm currently in the middle of trying to get them to
clarify this for me.

Thanks for the links, I'll look into them now.


Request for Question Clarification by aceresearcher-ga on 10 Feb 2003 14:21 PST
Greetings, lokiloki!

I can certainly understand your dismay with the current situation. It
would help Researchers greatly in attempting to assist you if you can
describe the type of website to which your information was posted, and
your company's purpose (if known) for posting it there.


There is no answer at this time.

Subject: Re: Public release of employee information
From: missy-ga on 05 Feb 2003 13:20 PST

Since I've not been able to find a definitive yes or no answer for
you, I'm going to leave what I have found as a comment for you. 
Perhaps a Researcher with a better understanding of Arizona law will
be able to assist you further.

Though your company is headquartered in VA, they are required to
comply with the laws of each state they do business in, so AZs laws
would apply.

I've been wading through Arizona's revised statutes, and the only
information I can find regarding release of employee information seems
to deal with "public employees", with no mention of whther these
statutes apply to employees in the private sector.

In AZ, companies may choose to keep all employee information
confidential, or may release parts of it under the Public Records Act.

Public Records

The sources I've looked at seem split, with most companies and public
entities opting to leave some information public (name, position, date
of hire, name of supervisor, work phone number) public and the rest
(home address, home phone, DOB, SSN) confidential.

According to at least one source, there is *no* statute specifically
prohibiting the release of *any* personnel information.

Tapping Official's Secrets

On a side note, I ran your question past my husband, who has been a
retail manager for 12 years.  He deals daily with employee records,
and every company he has worked with has maintained strict
confidentiality - he says the liability of making *any* employee
information public without their consent is too great for most
companies to want to risk, even if they are legally allowed to do so.

He was shocked that your company would want to run this risk, and
suggested that you and your co-workers consult with an attorney in
your area who specializes in business and labor matters.  A fifteen
minute consultation is usually free, and just letting your employer
know that you're looking into possible legal action may be enough to
convince them to respect your privacy and take the information down.

I'm sorry I wasn't able to find a definitive answer for you.  I'm
certain one of my colleagues can, though!

Subject: Re: Public release of employee information
From: steph53-ga on 05 Feb 2003 17:25 PST
Hi lokiloki...
Your question brought back a sensitive and shocking situation that
occurred in my workplace last February. I live and work in Canada for
a large government agency. Although part of our union agreement
stipulates that personal information is kept confidential from other
employees ( not from management ), I had always felt secure and never
thought any more about it. However, one day I arrived at my desk after
a day off to see, to my utter astonishment and horror, my T4 slip (
not sure what they are called elsewhere- income tax form )with my full
name, social insurance number and complete mailing address lying face
up on my blotter! This after I had told my manager two months prior 
that I wanted and needed ( long story- nasty marital split and I work
right beside the ex's sister-in-law ) to keep my address STRICTLY
confidential for my safety and security!!!
I just about lost my mind........had meeting with union stewart and
the many apologies and blah blah's....said would
never happen again.
However, since that time I no longer trust that this situation will
not be repeated. As it is close to that same time of year again, I
reminded the "bigwigs" in writing ( kept copy ) that should this be
repeated I would be taking legal action.
Good luck in your quest lokiloki. I'm in full agreement with you. Your
co-workers need only know what you yourself share to disclose.

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