Rule About Personal Information Given To Coworker?

Question to Ask the Workplace Doctors about disclosure of employee information:

What is the rule about an employer handing out my phone number, address, and birth date to a co-worker without my permission?

Signed, Wondering

Dear Wondering:

I get the impression you don’t want anyone at work to know anything about you. Probably that won’t be possible in today’s world. By taking a job you gave up some privacy already. But, I agree that unless your work requires it, there is no reason for anyone other than your employer and HR to have the other information.

If you have just a general complaint because you think your workplace provides too much personal information on rosters and similar items, ask your boss or HR to limit that on your entry and explain that you are concerned about privacy issues. If your boss gave your information to someone who requested a bunch of information about you, without you knowing about the request or the response, that is a much stronger concern. It’s too late now to take back the information but you can bring it to the attention of HR or others. You should certainly tell your employer not to do that again and find out how the information was used. You may need to consult an attorney about what to do in such a situation.

If a coworker was putting together a personal address book and asked for the information, your employer was wrong to give it. But, if the coworker was developing an in-house roster, that would be different. So, the situation and the results are the big issue here. I think you should be direct and talk to your employer about your concerns and suggest a company-wide policy that reflects respect for privacy and the safety of all employees. Best wishes.

Tina Lewis Rowe

Tina Lewis Rowe

Tina had a thirty-three year career in law enforcement, serving with the Denver Police Department from 1969-1994 and was the Presidential United States Marshal for Colorado from 1994-2002. She provides training to law enforcement organizations and private sector groups and does conference presentations related to leadership, workplace communications and customized topics. Her style is inspirational with humor.