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Observing Confidentiality in the Workplace

Employers should proceed with caution when trying to give employees notice about sensitive matters, including government agency investigations.

Late last year, in a case settled out of court, an employer agreed to certain injunctive relief and to pay monetary damages after it was sued by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”). This came about after the EEOC requested from the employer contact information of employees who might have knowledge regarding a former employee’s pending disability discrimination claim. The employer provided this information to the EEOC, then sent a letter to employees informing them that the EEOC might contact them about the situation. The letter identified the former employee by name and the nature of the alleged disability.

The EEOC sued the company alleging that such sharing of details was not only retaliation against the employee, but that it also created a potential “chilling effect” by intimidating other employees against filing charges in the future.

Although notice can serve an important role in employee communication, the risks should always be considered. The lawyers at Leonard Sciolla can assist you in handling employment related issues. For help with employment matters, call John Leonard or Keith Leonard at (215) 567-1530 or (856) 273-6679.

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