New Virginia Employee Privacy Law

Starting July 1, 2013, employers will not be required to hand out employees’ private information, including their phone numbers, email addresses, shift times, or work schedules, to third parties unless required by law.

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The Keeping Employees’ Emails and Phones Secure Act, or KEEP Act, mirrors a federal bill that stalled in Congress last year. Although ostensibly designed to protect employee privacy and safety, both the federal and Virginia bills are seen as responses to proposed NLRB rules that would require employers to provide more detailed employee contact information during labor union organizing campaigns. The new Virginia law gives employers cover for refusing to provide employee contact information.

It also may tee up a showdown if the federal NLRB rules are implemented because the Virginia law may be overridden if it conflicts with federal law.

The new law also does not require employers to keep the information confidential; it simply says they are not mandated to provide employee information to third parties. Employers may still do so if they wish.

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