by Stacey Rose Harris
A new state law in Virginia aimed at increasing worker privacy takes effect July 1. It bars employers from being required to disclose to third parties current and former employees’ personally identifiable information except under certain circumstances.
The law, House Bill 1931, says employers can’t be required to disclose the personally identifiable information unless compelled to do so by law under a court order, warrant, or subpoena.
Under the law, “personally identifiable information” includes an employee’s name, e-mail address, home and mobile phone numbers, shift times, and work schedule. Employers that distribute employee contact information lists are advised to ensure the lists aren’t disseminated outside the company and are returned when employees leave the organization.
In addition, since employers can’t be required to disclose employee information, you can refuse to respond to calls from a departing employee’s prospective new employer to verify employment unless you receive specific written authorization from the employee.
Also, the law’s language means you potentially can refuse to provide an employee with his own personnel file.
For more detailed coverage of this law, see “New worker privacy law will affect you” in the June 2013 issue of Virginia Employment Law Letter.