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  1. #1

    Default Does Employee Personal Data Belong To Your Employer?

    My question involves labor and employment law for the state of: Georgia

    You complete all your new hire paperwork, provided all your personal data, the company does a background check. You work there for 3 years.
    The company demands that you sign a form that gives them authorization to distribute your personal information to whomever they decide. (The company has NEW needs to apply for grants to fund their programs. Outside grant providers require personal data on employees.)
    **This form also includes a release of liability for the company and anyone else involved if the information is used improperly (ex:identity theft).

    I agreed that they are entitled to do background checks for company security but they are NOT authorized to distribute my information especially to whomever for their financial gain. The only way I would sign is removing the "release of liability" portion and/or provide some data security.
    I was fired because I would not sign the form with these statements. (I had already submitted a signed version where I removed the portion in question.)

    Another employee had same concerns but no action was taken against her.
    She was not pressed to sign the form until 2 months after my dismissal.

    Who owns the rights to employee data and its usage-employer or employee?
    Any precedents?

    Do I have grounds for wrongful termination and what would be the argument?

    Thanks.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Posts
    200

    Default Re: Does Employee Personal Data Belong To Employer?

    Your employer asked that you give it permission to release information on you that it maintains. You declined and attempted to negotiate the terms on which the information could be released. Your employer is perfectly within its rights to fire you, regardless of who owns the information. It added a term and condition to your employment. You chose not to accept it; it chose not to continue your employment.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    Louisville, KY
    Posts
    1,877

    Default Re: Does Employee Personal Data Belong To Employer?

    The poster above me is almost surely correct, especially if you live in one of the many states that allows employers to fire employees for any (or no) reason whatsoever.

    I just wanted to say that I think that's a really crappy thing to do. I feel for ya.

    ~Christina

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Posts
    200

    Default Re: Does Employee Personal Data Belong To Employer?

    The OP appears to clearly understand why the employer needs to release employee information - to obtain grants to fund its operation. If it can't get funding to sustain its operation, why would it need employees?

    I think the OP's position is short sighted. Most employers operate for their financial gain. That allows the employer to pay its employees. So, the employer's efforts provide it financial gain as well as providing financial gain for the employees. Why should an employer continue to employ someone who won't help it be successful?

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    Louisville, KY
    Posts
    1,877

    Default Re: Does Employee Personal Data Belong To Employer?

    Not everyone believes they should have to tell everyone everything in order to stay employed.

    I happen to feel for the OP.

    I understand your point, but, if that's the way it is, shouldn't it be made clear before employment and not three years later?

    ~Christina

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Posts
    200

    Default Re: Does Employee Personal Data Belong To Employer?

    It's not clear to me what will be shared, so I can't address whether the employees are being asked to "share everything." I doubt it. In some areas, information is protected by state and federal law.

    And, no an employer can impose new terms and conditions long after employees have been hired. In most circumstances an employee's choice is to accept them or find another job. The maintainance and release of employee information has changed as the result of the ubiquity of the computer, liability issues, some resulting from employee behavior, and concerns, some I think considerably overblown, with homeland security. I suspect there are others, but those are the three that come to mind.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Location
    Massachusetts
    Posts
    24,443

    Default Re: Does Employee Personal Data Belong To Employer?

    The bottom line here is that this was not a wrongful termination and the OP has no legal recourse against the employer.

    Christina, some years ago my then employer, which was a start up operating entirely on venture capital, was offered a grant that would cover fully half of our operating expenses for three years. One condition of this grant was that all employees had to sign a non-compete and non-disclosure agreement. Should they have turned down the grant because the employees were not asked to sign a non-compete and NDA at the time of hire? Or should they accept the funding they needed and ask the employees to sign?

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    Louisville, KY
    Posts
    1,877

    Default Re: Does Employee Personal Data Belong To Your Employer?

    Well, since you asked, I don't see it as the same thing at all.

    I really only joined in this convo to let the OP know I feel for him/her. It's not a very nice way to do business.

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