Protecting Employee Data Privacy in the Workplace

Most of the time we hear about customer’s data privacy but actually your company also responsible about your employee data privacy. That is why, it is important for you to learn the method that you can use to secure the employee’s data.

Data Privacy

What is Employee Data Privacy?

Employee Data Privacy something that the company must do to protect their employee personal data by applying security measures to make sure that the data is stored safely. You should also limit the access of those data and only allowed release or access with permission from the employee. 

Personal data can include individual information such as phone number, mail and home addresses, birth dates, social security numbers, bank account, medical history and many other. If these data go into wrong hands then it might be used to do something illegal which will then cause problems for employee. 

How to Make Privacy Policy to Protect the Employee’s data

In many countries there are actually some laws that mandate you to protect employee data privacy with some detailed documentation that you need to comply. This is why it is important for you to have privacy policy to protect your employee’s data. Here are the steps that you can take to make it:

Create data inventory

You need to know exactly which employee’s data that you currently have by creating data inventory. The data itself can be taken from various department such as HR, IT and security department since they have ability to track employee in the workplace through various workplace surveillance system.

Explain why you collect the data

The laws required you to have lawful reason to do the data collection. That is why, it is important for you to explain why you collect the data to comply with the laws. You should also be transparent about everything that you collect and explain the reason in the data privacy.

Furthermore, you also need to explain about the potential data privacy risk that may happen to your employee. This is important so your employee can make the right decisions on the behaviors that they do when using work device.

This is why, it is important for you to only collect data that absolutely necessary. Especially since more data that you collect then the risk will become even larger thus it will be harder to secure it. 

Do assessment on privacy impact 

This assessment is done to make sure that you have the right document that show your legitimate interest to do the data collection. That way your employee will understand that you already considered about the privacy policies that you create and not just take whatever data that you want from them.

Present the final policies

Once everything is ready and thoroughly considered then you can present the final policies you create. You need to create them using simple language so all employee can understand regardless their technical knowledge about the things mention in the policies.

Remember that you may also receive feedback from your employee regarding your policies. Thus, you need to give the right respond to them according to the policies that you create.

Since different country and state might have different laws regarding employee data privacy, it is better that your privacy policy can cover everything. That is why, try to create privacy policies that are universal so it is applicable to all employee no matter where they are located.

What is Workplace surveillance?

One method to secure your employee privacy as well as to make sure that your employee is safe while working then you can do workplace surveillance. However, you need to remember that this surveillance should also be done according to the laws since there are legal restrictions that you have to follow. 

This legal restriction is done to make sure that the employee still has their right for privacy. That is why, all monitoring that you do in the workplace should be notified to the employee beforehand.

Types of Surveillance That You Can Do at Workplace

  • Voice mail and phone call surveillance
    Voice mail and live phone call cannot be intercept according to Federal laws but your company may do legal surveillance of phone communication when it is done in ordinary business course. 
    Usually this surveillance is done for customer service and telemarketing operation. The reason is because the company have legal interest to do it for quality control. But remember that you need to still get written consent from the employee to do the surveillance.
  • Text and email communication surveillance
    Your company may conduct text and email communication surveillance to protect the business and prevent data breaches. However, you should also make sure that you consider the employee’s privacy right while doing so. 
    In some states they are also privacy protection that allows employee to use the company’s emailing system for their personal use. So, you need to be mindful with the laws as well.
  • Internet use surveillance
    You should have a policy that regulate the use of internet in workplace as well as it’s surveillance. Furthermore, your company have a lot of tools that you can use to filter and even block access from devices to access the internet using the company’s system. 
  • Video surveillance
    This type of workplace surveillance is done to monitor activities inside the workplace. This surveillance can help to minimize misconduct and provide evidence if there is a crime occur at the workplace. 
    There are even more detailed laws that regulate the application of this surveillance that you should follow so you need to make sure that the practice complies with the law.

Things That You Can Do to Protect Employee’s Data

  • Creating formal privacy policies
    You need to have formal privacy policies that can defined which employee’s data that you collect and stored. You should also explain the method that your company use to protect employee data privacy.
  • Maintain and secure the record
    Your company need to implement, physical, administrative and technical control that can be used to secure the record. You should limit access of the record to only personnel that is responsible to maintain it. 
  • Comply with recordkeeping laws
    You need to follow all record keeping laws that are created by the state, federal, local and even international laws. These laws regulate data record with detailed explanation on the things that the company are allowed to do, must do and even the length of time of the record keeping. So, you need to make sure to follow the laws as they are also helpful with employee data privacy. 
  • Do not use the employee’s SSN
    To protect your employee’s data from fraud or identity theft it is important for you to limit the transmission, print and even the use of employee’s SSN. Instead you can assign your own number as employee identification which can be used as unique time cards on their files.
  • Apply access restriction
    You need to apply access restriction and only those who really have a reason that able to access the information. Furthermore, even if they are able to access employee’s information, the information should also be limited to only things that they need. 
    For example, only managers that can have access to the employee’s performance information. But the information should be restricted to only the performance reviews, attendance records. They should not have any other information about the employee that they do not need such as the employee’s personal information. 
  • Have access log to monitor
    You need to have a log that show the personnel who access the employee’s information that will show the time when they access it as well as the reason. Then you need to audit the log to make sure that the access can be traced and only authorized personnel that able to access the information.
  • Investigate unauthorized access
    If you see that the are someone that do not have proper authorization access employee information then you need to investigate it right away. That way, you can find the vulnerabilities in the system and perform improvement to prevent other incidents to happen. 
    Remember that in event of big incident happened then you need to inform authorized regulator about the incident to comply with the regulation. 
  • Dispose record in proper manner
    Once the retention period is over then you need to dispose all of your record. You should make sure that it is done in proper manner so the record cannot be reconstructed and read again. 
  • Train Supervisors and employee
    You need to give training to supervisors and employee about your data protection policies. That way, employee will know how to keep themselves and another employee safe. 
    Especially if the supervisor has authority to access employee’s data then you need to train them the method that can be used to keep the data confidential and prevent any unauthorized access.


There are a lot of information that your company can take from your employee. However, it is important to know that you should also protect the information and employee privacy. Especially since employee data privacy is also something that regulate by law which your company must follow. Try to do the things that we mention here to safeguard the information.

Description: Learn about the importance of data privacy in the workplace and how to safeguard employee information. Understand the legal implications of workplace surveillance and data collection.

Tags: employee data privacy, workplace surveillance, employee data protection, privacy policy

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