Protecting Employee Data

March 15, 2016 10:28 pm

Protecting Employee Data

Protecting Employee Data

As an employer, are you taking the necessary steps to keep your employee information confidential and secure? In today’s information age, data breaches are a too common occurrence and lead to a multitude of problems. The rise in identify theft has led to laws imposing restrictions on the use and disclosure of employee social security numbers, and company obligations for responding to security breaches of electronically stored information such as payroll records and personally identifiable information.

California civil code defines personal information as:

(A) An individual’s first name or first initial and his or her last name in combination with any one or more of the following data elements, when either the name or the data elements are not encrypted or redacted:

(i) Social security number.

(ii) Driver’s license number or California identification card number.

(iii) Account number, credit or debit card number, in combination with any required security code, access code, or password that would permit access to an individual’s financial account.

(iv) Medical information.

(v) Health insurance information.

SS Card


The law requires businesses to promptly notify affected individuals of a security breach in the most expedient time possible and without unreasonable delay. The written notification should include at a minimum: 1) what happened, 2) information involved, 3) what action you are taking, and, 4) what the employee can do. You may contact your legal counsel or refer to the civil code for additional information.

A few recommended steps to safeguard employee data:

• Partner with your trusted IT provider

• Consult with legal counsel or Sierra HR Partners on best practices for collecting, storing and retaining employee data

• Restrict access to employee records

If one of your employees is a victim of identify theft, encourage him or her to file a police report, and to contact all creditors and reporting agencies.


California’s Department of Fair Employment and Housing has a few amendments that impact employee notifications? One recent update is guidance on Transgender Rights in The Workplace. We will keep you apprised of additional updated notices as they are published.Click here for a full list of DFEH notices and brochures.

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