What Is an Employer Breach of Confidentiality?

An employer breach of confidentiality happens when an employer reveals information about an employee to unauthorized people. For example, an employer breach of confidentiality occurs if an employer shares medical information without securing a written authorization from the employee.

Employees must reveal certain kinds of information in the process of employment, such as social security numbers, medical information for insurance plans and tax information. The Americans with Disabilities Act limits the revealing of employees’ medical records to emergency workers in order to obtain treatment, an employee’s supervisor if the information is pertinent to the performance of a job, to an insurance company in limited cases and to the government if the law requires it. In fact, any medical records that a company has must be stored carefully to prevent breaches of confidentiality.

Additionally, the Human Rights Act protects employees at work from excessive surveillance by an employer. For example, an employee’s personal life is off limits to employers. Along with privacy guaranteed by law, employers need to think before revealing information about employees that is not necessary to the performance of their jobs. When employers fail to abide by the law, they can be open to criminal charges. When employers reveal information that should reasonably remain private, they expose themselves to significant legal and financial liabilities.