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Texas Confidential Files

Posted by Tamara

Concerns about how to maintain confidential files have some employees in Texas asking questions. For instance, should personnel files be kept in offices or storage rooms that are locked? If so, do the filing cabinets that they are kept in need to be locked, as well?

The situation is made a bit more complex because, in Texas, there are no state or federal laws that address how such files should be stored. All employers should take whatever steps are necessary in order to ensure that all medical information is kept under lock and key. People who do not have a legal right to view this information should not, under any circumstances, be allowed to see it. In some cases, it might only require the use of one lock. In others, it might require several.

In 1990, the Americans with Disabilities Act was established, and it is the relevant law regarding confidential files. All businesses having at least 15 employees have to abide by the rules of the ADA.

The different types of employee information that should be kept in confidential files include the following: religion, age, race, credit, background, disability status, and medical condition. These regulations have been established by numerous federal laws, as well as court decisions.

According to the Americans with Disabilities Act, if an employee’s disability status were used as a factor in any type of personnel decisions, it would be a violation of the law. As long as managers and supervisors do not have access to that information, then it cannot be used against anyone in a negative manner. All employee medical information has to be kept confidential because of HIPAA.

There are some basic guidelines that employers should follow in order to be sure that they are keeping confidential files in an appropriately secure manner. One of the easiest ways is to keep these files in locked file cabinets inside of locked offices. Not only is this method quite popular with employers, it is also probably the safest way to maintain files.

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