Take control of how your Sensitive Personal Information (SPI) is handled
Ethics in the work place is one of the most emphasized topics in the business world. Companies expect employees to be ethical in their relationships with other employees, their interactions with customers, their handling of classified information, and their use of company assets. When it comes to ethics, companies hold their employees to high standards, so shouldn’t employees have the right to hold their employers to the same expectations?
As an employee, whether at an entry, a managing, or an executive level, you should be concerned with how your company is handling the employees’ sensitive personal information. If the employer is not handling information properly, it is opening the door to identity theft of both the employees and its customers. Most employers have new hires complete a Confidentiality Agreement to help hold the employee accountable. Even if the employer never explicitly said they would protect your information, if you promise to keep your company’s information confidential, the company should respect you as well by responsibly protecting the personal information of all employees. The IRS W-9 form even states, “ensure your employer is protecting your SSN.” Whether it’s an ethical or responsibility issue, if your company is not properly storing and handling your personal information, it’s an issue.
“Whether it’s an ethical issue or a responsibility issue, it’s an issue.”
The first thing you do as a new employee, is fill out a W-9 form, including your full name, contact information and social security number. Not long after, you give your bank account number to set up automatic deposits. If you are giving such private information, you have right to expect the company to manage your information securely and responsibly. If the company’s idea of managing the information means storing the paperwork in a drawer, or scanning the papers and throwing them away, then you have a right to be concerned.
The issue concerns more than the personal information of individual employees. If your company is not handling information responsibly, do you really want to promote your services to potential clients and every time you add a new client or a new employee you are putting them at risk as well? If you become aware of a flaw in how your company is handling the information it is entrusted with, you have the right to say something. By pointing out any potential risks, you will not only be helping yourself and your customers, but also your fellow employees and the company itself. Just as you don’t want your identity stolen, no company wants to end up in the news as the latest information breach…
So ask your employer where your personal information is being kept, and who has access to it. If the answer is anything less than in a secured area with controlled access, then it is your responsibility to suggest that the company contact an information management professional to see if there is a better solution to how sensitive information is handled.Share