When it comes to the workplace, employees have expectations of the companies they work for, just as the company has expectations of those workers. And when it comes to protecting personal information, nowhere is this trust more important for employees.
Confidential employee information can include:
- Full name
- Social security number
- Background check authorization
- Offer letter
Have a system in place
Having a secure system for storing extremely confidential information is the first step in protecting sensitive data. Besides having a locked file cabinet, employers should have password-protected software in place for any electronic data.
“After a decision has been made, all copies except for the original should be destroyed,” says Jeff Jones of US Datalink, a Houston based background screening company. “The original, whether it is paper or electronic should remain secured and only accessible to individuals responsible for maintaining the records.”
Assigning an employee identification number to employees and applicants instead of using their social security number is a good way to prevent identity theft. But it isn’t a panacea for information security.
Experts say only pertinent human resource employees and managers should have access to personal files.
Mismanagement of files happens more often than you may think. More than 200 million confidential files have been released improperly by companies, according to the Privacy Rights Clearinghouse, a San Diego-based advocacy firm.
If files get stolen, information on your employees ranging from their address to their salary and business title coud be released. The thief could turn around and use that information for fraud, including opening credit cards or opening loans in the employee’s name. This could lead to their credit being destroyed without their knowledge.
Offer credit monitoring
If you have the means, offer employees a monthly subscription to a reputable credit monitoring service. If not, then host seminars teaching employees how to remain vigilant by monitoring their credit reports and personal data. An hour of their time could mean thousands of dollars saved.