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Warning: Manage your employee's personal information properly or be prepared to pay the price

by , 05 July 2013
It's crucial you manage your employees' confidential information to ensure you don't face penalties for infringing their rights to privacy. Doing this correctly will also help you avoid the mayhem that could result from employees knowing each other's personal business like their salary and previous bonus. Here's how you can keep personal information safe to avoid facing serious penalties.

There are three categories of private information that relates to your employee:

  1. Personal information about the employee
  2. Employee communications (electronic, cell phone, telephone and private conversations); and
  3. Employee's performance and disciplinary issues.

And, when it comes to keeping this information confidential, you better do everything you can to protect it.

Protect personal information about your employees

You must protect personal information such as ID number, medical information, salary, benefits, CVs, sexual preference and race, for many reasons including the prevention of identity fraud, theft of bank details, the potential for age discrimination and unfair discrimination based on an employee's medical condition, says the Practical Guide to Human Resources Management.

Here's how to manage your employees' personal information

Protecting your employees' private information is the onus of your financial, administration and HR departments. They need to ensure they don't leave personal information lying around the office. They also need to ensure hard copies of all personal information are kept in a safe that only one or two people have access to.

Also useful, would be ensuring that your company has effective security measures on its computers and other forms of electronic storage. To do this restrict access to the server and network and make sure they're protected by a password.

And remember external service providers, such as payroll administrators and accountants, must have the same privacy restrictions.

In addition, employees must be bound by confidentiality policies. They must not:

  • Leave their screens unattended;
  • Leave their desks for a long time without shutting down their computers;
  • Give others their passwords;
  • Leave files lying around;
  • Cabinets must remain locked, only a few people should have access and keys shouldn't be left in drawers;
  • Copy information onto disks or flash-drives unless the information is password protected;
  • Send information via email, unless it's password protected;
  • Forget to shred all discarded documentation;
  • Leave the fax machine when expecting private information. It's best for them to have private fax numbers; and
  • Have open-plan offices.

Manage your employee's personal information correctly to avoid facing penalties and the mayhem that results from employees knowing each other's personal business.

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