Employers in Minnesota should be aware of two recently enacted laws that will require them to revise their personnel policies and procedures.
Employers in Minnesota should be aware of two recently enacted laws that will require them to revise their personnel policies and procedures. One requires Minnesota employers to take steps to protect the privacy of employees' social security numbers; the other requires employers to provide notice of Minnesota's Personnel Record Review and Access statute to employees when they are hired.
Social Security Number Protection: Minnesota's law protecting the privacy of social security numbers, Minn. Stat. § 325E.59, has been amended to prohibit individuals and businesses from:
- Posting or publicly displaying an individual's social security number;
- Printing an individual's social security number on any card required for the individual to access the business' products or services;
- Requiring an individual to transmit his or her social security number over the Internet unless the connection is secure or the social security number is encrypted;
- Requiring an individual to use his or her social security number to access an Internet web site unless the a password or other unique authentication device is also required;
- Printing an individual's social security number on material mailed to that person unless the law requires the social security number to be on the material mailed;
- Assigning or using a number as the primary account identifier that is identical to or incorporates an individual's complete social security number; or
- Selling social security numbers obtained from individuals in the course of business.
The law also requires employers to restrict access to individual social security numbers so that only employees who require the numbers to perform their job duties have access to the numbers. The law takes effect July 1, 2008.
Effective January 1, 2008, Minnesota employers will be required to provide written notice to employees, when they are hired, of their "rights and remedies" as set forth in Minnesota's Personnel Record Review and Access statute (Minn. Stat. § 181.960, et seq.). Among other things, the Personnel Record law permits an employee to review his or her personnel record once every six months, upon written request, and to obtain a copy of the record at no charge. A former employee is entitled to review his or her personnel record upon written request once every year after the separation date and to obtain a copy of the record at no charge.
The law also permits employees to submit a statement disputing anything in the personnel record with which the employee disagrees. This statement is to be made part of the employee's personnel record. The law prohibits retaliation against employees and former employees for asserting their rights under the statute and provides for a civil action for alleged violations of the statute.
Employers' Bottom Line:
The new laws will require Minnesota employers to revise their personnel polices and procedures to ensure they are in compliance. If you have any questions regarding the provisions of these laws or any other Minnesota labor or employment related issue, please contact any member of Ford & Harrison's Minneapolis office.