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Loose lips lead to lawsuits: Consult lawyer before releasing personal info

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in Employee Benefits Program,Human Resources

Privacy laws are confusing. If you are unsure about whether you can release any employee information, check with your attorney. That may help you avoid the kind of drawn-out litigation one employer recently endured.

Recent case: When the trustees of a union pension and benefits plan asked the Los Angeles Unified School District to produce payroll records, including employees’ Social Security numbers for employees, it balked.

The school district said the information was confidential and sued, seeking a court order allowing it to withhold the information. The union trustees argued they needed the information to administer contractors’ benefit contributions so that it could credit the right employees and accounts.

After much litigation, the court said the school district could legally turn over the information. (Southern California IBEW-NECA Pension Plan v. Los Angeles Unified School District, No. B216847, Court of Appeal of California, 2nd Appellate District, 2010)

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