Magazine article Parks & Recreation

Playbook: Confidentiality in the Workplace

Magazine article Parks & Recreation

Playbook: Confidentiality in the Workplace

Article excerpt

The breach that can hurt your career... and your pocketbook.

Confidentiality is not just a professional courtesy, it's the law. As a veteran in human resources management, I know the seriousness of maintaining confidentiality and the potential consequences of breaching it. High courts are affirming this fact through their judgments against organizations and individual managers for employment violations that all began with a breach of confidentiality.

So, Sue Me

Wait-individual managers are being sued?

That's right. A disgruntled employee's first instincts may be to go after the company, but if the company can demonstrate clear and well-communicated management policies specifying the manager's responsibilities to maintain confidentialities, and the manager chose to disregard them, the attorneys will turn their attentions to the individual manager.

Managers are becoming a more frequent target of employment-related lawsuits. The millions of dollars employers spend on EPLI (Employment Practices Liability Insurance) policies each year protect the company if they are sued, but these policies are rarely written to extend to individual managers named in a suit-leaving you and your assets high and dry.

Remember, you don't have to be wrong to be sued... you don't even have to be wrong to lose. Even if you win, it could cost you hundreds of thousands of dollars to defend yourself. However, with strong management practices, you can protect yourself from becoming a target in the first place.

As a manager, you've been through the process of hiring an employee at least once. …

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