Protect your employees' information... Or it could cost you R10 million!

Taryn Strugnell, Managing Editor, Labour Watch Newsletter, 29 Apr. 2015

Tags: popi, employee information, employee contracts, protection of personal information act

You have a legal obligation to protect your employees' data and personal information. This is according to the Protection from Harassment Act and Protection of Personal Information Act, or POPI. If you don't, you could spend ten years in jail or pay a R10 million fine!

Before we look at what you have to do, let's see what data you have to protect...

What is employee's data and personal information?
This is any personal data and information your employees give you when they join your company. It's also information they give you while working for you. 
This includes his: 
  • Age;
  • Id number;
  • Blood type and finger prints;
  • Information about financial transactions;
  • Marital status;
  • Address;
  • Telephone number;
  • Education;
  • Criminal record;
  • Work performance;
  • Performance reviews;
  • Performance counselling sessions;
  • Terms of employment; or
  • Salary.
You need this information so you can identify, contact or locate your employees in case of an emergency. And legally, you have to keep it too! But how do you protect it? Use these five basic principles in your codes of conduct to help you do protect your employees' information…
***highly recommended***
An internal HR audit allows you to objectively examine all your HR policies, procedures and practices in your company

Ensure you're in line with employment laws by carrying out regular human resource audits. This way you will also know you're doing everything you can to protect your employee's information.

Find out more here...


Five basic rules to make sure you don't violate employee privacy
  1. Don't keep any personal information about an employee if you don't need it.
  2. Only employees who need access to personal data about other employees must have it. For example, Human Resources or the employee's supervisor.
  3. Don't give employee information to anyone in your company. You can only do this if you have his permission.
  4. Don't give employee's information to anyone outside your company without the employee's permission. But you can if the law says you must.
  5. Don't worry about what employees do after hours and outside of work. UNLESS it affects your company reputation or his ability to do his job. For example, a financial manager who commits fraud.

If you don't secure your employee data someone could steal it, or illegally modify it. If this happens, you could land up I prison or paying a hefty fine. Make sure you protect employee personal information!





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