#1  
Unread 09-20-2006, 01:24 AM
HRCathy
 
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Default Sharing employee information

[font size="1" color="#FF0000"]LAST EDITED ON 09-20-06 AT 07:32AM (CST)[/font][br][br]If you have employees that have a death in the family or are in the hospital, do you think it is right to share the information you have been given? One of the owners of the company feels that I am holding back information. I feel that it is not my place to share any information. Am I overreacting? I understand that they may want to send flowers, but I feel like I have a duty to protect the employee's privacy. If the illness isn't work related, I don't think I should run over to their offices and tell them what is going on. It feels like gossip to me. If the employee wants to tell ,then they can. What do you think?
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  #2  
Unread 09-20-2006, 01:33 AM
stilldazed
 
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Default RE: Sharing employee information

Sounds like you are asking a couple of questions. I'll respond as an HR director in the context of my role within the organization.

First, check your company's policy on releasing personal information--which should include all forms of personal information as a result of all forms of requests. If you have no policy, now might be a good time to pen one. Basically, do what your policy says. If you are penning a policy for the first time, it will ultimately be whatever your company's culture is willing to accept.

My company's policy is to not release any info from the HR office. Does that mean abosulely no info. Ideally, yes, but in practice, there are occasional references shared on informal bases--not unlike any work environment. There are no blatant breaches.

For concerned coworkers who make formal inquiries, even with the best of intentions, my department will offer to forward cards (get well, condolence, etc), or we will advise inquiring coworkers to seek out the info they are asking for through different means. We have followed that practice for at least the last 4 years, and I have seen no major negative backlash because of it. In fact, anyone who questions our message typically understands our position as HR staff and agree that they would prefer the same message be given their own coworkers in similar situations.

Best wishes.
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  #3  
Unread 09-20-2006, 06:10 AM
HRCathy
 
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Default RE: Sharing employee information

Thank you very much for the insight. I told the owner that if I am at liberty to share information, I will do it. I don't think she will like what I think I can share and what she thinks I should share. If you (or anyone) has a policy that will help get me started, I would really appreciate it. Thanks!
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  #4  
Unread 09-20-2006, 09:12 AM
Toto
 
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Default RE: Sharing employee information

This is similar to another post where HRís boss wanted info. Can be tricky to tell them no. I believe one of HRís best assets is trust which can be maintained by confidentiality with both EE and ER information. I adhere to Stilldazed policy which gives me tremendous credibility but I donít have anything in writing. All our managers are close to their EEs and send around cards and collection envelopes for flowers. They are also good about limiting the personal info they share.

Would it help if you asked the EE at the time if they would mind if you shared non-work related info like this with the boss? If the company has a tradition of sending flowers or card then EEs tend to know you are protecting their privacy but also that the owners care about them. Maybe tell your boss it would be in her and the companyís best interest to handle it that way. Hope this helps.
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  #5  
Unread 09-21-2006, 12:19 AM
WT
 
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Default RE: Sharing employee information

I would tend to make a distinction between a personal crisis (illness, illness of family member, divorce, separation, legal issues) or a death in the family. Some issues by their very nature should be kept confidential by HR and any dissemination would be at the discretion of the affected emloyee. Death in the family is a little different. This is due to our corporate culture (we have a flower fund and always send flowers so the employees expect it) and the fact that obituaries are published in the local paper. It is hard to get too worked up over confidentiality issues with an event that is put on the obituary page with the employee listed among surviving relatives. However, I would keep the matter confidential if asked by the employee.
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  #6  
Unread 09-22-2006, 02:54 AM
HRCathy
 
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Default RE: Sharing employee information

My thinking seems to be on the same path as all of you. I am not so concerned about sharing a death in the family. I did have one employee that requested I not tell anyone about his daughter's death. He is an unusual person, but he really didn't want anyone to be at her funeral. I respected that, and I think that may be one of the reasons I am having this problem now. This young lady's death wasn't in the newspaper either. Thank you all very much.
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