Your responsibility for keeping certain personnel information private is not excused because you keep the information electronically. You must closely guard access to electronic files that contain sensitive information. You can be held liable for negligently failing to protect your system from unauthorized access. Consider hiring a security professional to examine your company’s computer network to determine if your network is vulnerable to an outside attacker. In some situations, you may need encryption technology. Encryption scrambles data to make the information unreadable to anybody who does not have the key to decrypt the data. But encryption technology can also allow the message sender to disguise the message’s origin. As a result, it can be impossible to discover which employee is, for example, sending sexually suggestive messages in violation of your company’s anti-harassment policy. Similarly, encryption technology can prevent you from accessing and monitoring email messages between employees.

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