Posted by Tamara
Workers in Wyoming have expressed some concern regarding how their confidential information is kept by their employers. Some people believe that all personnel files have to be held in locked file cabinets, and that those cabinets must be stored in locked rooms. This is not necessarily the case, however, as there are no specific federal or state laws that respond to the lock issue.
What employers and employees need to keep in mind is that there have been court rulings and federal laws that have dictated that certain information has to be kept confidential in some way. The types of employee information that must remain confidential are credit, background, religion, medical condition, age, disability status, credit, and race. Based on those rulings, employee files of this nature have to be locked up, and should be located in a place that keeps them away from the public.
It is best if even supervisors and managers, as well as any other personnel with a “need to know” basis, have limited access to confidential information. For one thing, the Americans with Disabilities Act stipulates that if a worker has a disability, his or her status should have no bearing on any personnel decisions. The logic here is that if supervisors do not have access to this information to begin with, then they would not be able to use it.
Some essential guidelines that employers could follow might be beneficial in helping them determine how they should store their files. One of the most important things that employers should understand is that if others have regular access to any worker’s information regarding privileged information, it would be more likely that the information might be utilized to discriminate against that worker. Such discriminatory actions would be in violation of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, specifically Title VII of that act.
The most successful method of maintaining confidential files is to keep them in locked file cabinets in locked offices.
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