Posted by Tamara
When it comes to keeping employee files secure, employers in Louisiana need to take whatever steps are necessary. Medical information, as well as other confidential information, should never be given to anyone that does not have a legitimate right to it. Regardless of whether it takes one lock to secure an employee’s files, or ten locks, each employer bears the responsibility of doing what it has to.
A lot of confidential information is held under “two-lock systems” by employers. This type of system is not legally required by either Louisiana state or federal laws, but numerous court and federal regulations have mandated that there are certain categories of information that should always be kept confidential. Such information generally includes a worker’s credit, medical condition, race, disability status, religion, background, and age.
These files are required by law to be kept secure, with very limited access even for those who have a legitimate need to know some information. Since the Americans with Disabilities Act makes it a requirement for employers not to use an employee’s disability status as a factor in making personnel decisions, it is best if supervisors do not have access to the confidential files. What the supervisors and managers do not know, they cannot use against any worker.
The philosophy behind these regulations is to ensure that confidential employee information is looked at as little as possible by anyone. Making sure that these files are kept in a manner that is satisfactory according to the law is not all that difficult.
Clearly, it would not be enough for an employer to keep confidential files in cabinets that are not locked, and keep those in rooms that have a lock on the door. This would allow too many people to have access to the files on a regular basis.
If too many people had access to these files, it would be very easy for them to gather information about another worker’s sensitive information. If the information were used to discriminate against a worker, the employer would be in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act.
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