Can an employer tell co-workers in a meeting that a person has been to prison?

UPDATED: Sep 3, 2011

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Can an employer tell co-workers in a meeting that a person has been to prison?

The person was not present during meeting. They have worked for the employer for over a year. The employer told entire staff and not the person who it involves. Can an employer do this, as the person is not on parole and the prison sentence is over 7 years old?

Asked on September 3, 2011 under Employment Labor Law, Kansas


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

There is nothing illegal about sharing publically available information--and the fact of a criminal conviction and the resulting prison sentence are, except for a few special cases, public information which anyone could, if so inclined, discover. Those special cases would involve some sort of judicial order, or possibly expungement, putting the information off limits and out of the public eye. However, other than that, it is public information, and there is no privacy expectation in public information and no penalty for disclosing it. If the information was untrue or incorrect, then there is the possibility that the person who was thereby defamed may have a cause of action for defamation. That fact that information is 7 years old (or older) may make it less relevant, but does not affect legality.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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