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When an Employer Talks to an Employee’s Family About Workplace Matters

June 20, 2019

Workplace confidentiality is essential. Generally, employees are warned about disclosing any information related to the company or the nature of their work. Employers have issued warnings to employees, urging them to refrain from disclosing trade secrets to anyone, including their family members.

Invasion of Privacy by Employer

However, what happens when an employer shares trade secrets or speaks to an employee’s family members about the company and the employee’s personal matters? The Illinois Right to Privacy in the Workplace Act determines an employer must refrain from disclosing personal or work-related information related to an employee with anyone.

The Act prevents an employer from disclosing any information about an employee to their family members. If an employer is found sharing any biometric information and discussing workplace matters of an employee with family members of that particular employee, then this shall be considered an infringement of the privacy policy.

Similarly, if a former employer is providing personal or misleading information to your family or your current employer, you can talk to an experienced employment attorney to sue your former employer for violation of the privacy laws.

New Amendments in Privacy Laws in Illinois

The new amendments in Illinois Right to Privacy in the Workplace Act (IRPWA) have expanded to restrict employers from soliciting information, such as usernames and passwords, to get access to an employee’s social media or email accounts.

An employer cannot use biometric information to gain access to any online account of an employee. Similarly, contacting a family member online and sharing work-related information with the family of an employee is illegal and considered a violation of the privacy act. It will be unlawful if an employer eavesdrops on their employees through surveillance like audio and video recording. Sharing such sensitive information with anyone including the family of an employee is a criminal offense.

Role of the HR Department

If an employee complains to an HR department about the employer’s alleged information sharing with the employee’s family, the HR department should decide to reprimand the employer for privacy policy infringement. To be on the safe side, hire a skilled employment attorney who understands the legal and professional requirements of a privacy violation case.

An employer will be in breach of the privacy policy if he/she is allegedly sharing or soliciting any personal information with the family members of that particular employee, which includes but is not limited to the following:

  1. Financial information

  2. Personal information

  3. Work-related matters

  4. Bio-metric information

  5. Medical information

Any infringement will result in a lawsuit against the employer; an experienced attorney will decide how to move your case forward.

If you want to know more about employee privacy laws or require legal assistance in any other employment issue, schedule a free consultation with us; contact the Law Office of Michael Smith to talk with an experienced employment lawyer.