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Don’t require staff to give emergency contact info

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in Office Management,Records Retention

Q. We’re cleaning up our personnel files and updating emergency contact information. Some employees don’t want to provide their contact information. Is it legal for us to require them to give it to us? —S.S., California

A. When you say you want to “require” employees to provide emergency contact information, we presume you mean to ask whether you can legally discipline or even terminate an employee for his/her refusal.

From a legal perspective, the answer is likely “yes.” You can require employees to provide such information. We don’t see any actionable claims or breach of privacy rights. From a practical perspective, however, it seems a bit silly to even consider discipline or termination for such a “violation.”

Bottom line: If employees don’t want anyone notified in an emergency, respect their wishes.

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