With the rapidly accelerating trend toward electronic documents and data, preserving the confidentiality and privacy of employment-related records and information has become one of the most urgent and rapidly evolving areas of employment law.

Personnel data often includes social security numbers, bank account information, employee date of birth, address, telephone number, and even medical information. An expanding array of federal and state statutes govern the handling of such data, but those statutes and regulations are often some of the least well known among HR professionals, in-house counsel, or others confronting compliance issues relating to confidential employee or customer information. Mistakes are often highly publicized and costly. It is only a matter of time before inadvertent disclosure of such data yields class action or regulatory investigation and penalties.

Perkins Coie lawyers have particular depth of experience in counseling clients on encrypting and protecting digital employee information to prevent disclosure when laptops, flash drives, DVDs or other portable databases containing confidential personnel information go missing.

Our lawyers routinely advise employers with respect to lost laptops, misdirected e-mails, or misplaced digital media storage to ensure prompt and appropriate communications with government agencies, media representatives and employees in order to contain and address potential legal issues or public relations. We also regularly provide assistance to ensure compliance with the range of statutory and regulatory restrictions on such data collection, storage, and transmission.