May 4, 2006
Privacy in the workplace has become a hot issue for employers with the advent of electronic technological advances, HIPAA regulations and the necessity of employee background clearances in this age of increased awareness for security and safety. How does an employer handle these sensitive sources of information? What does the law say?
Technology has greatly enhanced the opportunities and methods for employees to communicate with the outside world. This has been both a blessing and a curse, as employers have had to monitor the content of materials which enter the workplace, guard against the publication of confidential information, and protect computer systems and data bases.
During the May 23 seminar “Workplace Privacy” from 9:00 a.m. to 12:15 p.m., Gary Batke of Bailey Cavalieri will review the Electronic Communication Privacy Act and its application to newly-developing electronic communication technology, such as instant messages, blogs, e-mail, chat rooms and interactive websites.
In addition to the concern for electronic privacy issues, protected medical information is a source of concern for employers. Sensitive medical information has long been protected by common law privacy interests. With the advent of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, employers must be all the more vigilant to prevent the unauthorized release or use employee medical records. Barbara Letcher of Newhouse Prophater & Letcher will review the application of HIPAA to employers and the interaction of HIPAA with common law claims of invasion of privacy.
Besides the dilemma of privacy issues with HIPAA information, more employers are concerned with the sensitive information secured in the routine collection of background checks. Faced with growing liability for negligent hiring and supervision, sexual harassment and protection of the public from sexual assaults and other acts of violence, more employers have begun to conduct investigations of applicants and employees. Wesley Newhouse of Newhouse Prophater & Letcher will explore the requirements of the Fair Credit Reporting Act and its recent amendments as they relate to obtaining, using and disseminating background investigation reports.
Finally, what does the law have to say about privacy in the workplace? Several high-profile consumer data breaches in 2005 received widespread media attention. Employers necessarily maintain vast amounts of employee data that are likewise subject to disclosure, whether by accident or hacking. Counsel need to be aware of the new Ohio statute requiring notification to the subjects of data that has been exposed, as well as common law risks resulting from these situations. William A. Nolan and Amy Ruth Ita of Squire Sanders & Dempsey will conduct a review of the new legal requirements of Ohio’s new Data Privacy Statute and other employee data protection issues, including developing practical approaches and considerations in minimizing risk for employers and other clients.
Register online at www.cbalaw.org or phone 614/221.4112. The cost is $85 prepaid/$95 day of for members, $115 prepaid/$125 day of for non-members and $55 prepaid/$65 day of for paralegals.