Is a breach of confidentiality by an HR departmentgrounds for a lawsuit?

UPDATED: Oct 15, 2010

Advertiser Disclosure

It’s all about you. We want to help you make the right legal decisions.

We strive to help you make confident insurance and legal decisions. Finding trusted and reliable insurance quotes and legal advice should be easy. This doesn’t influence our content. Our opinions are our own.

UPDATED: Oct 15, 2010Fact Checked

Get Legal Help Today

Compare Quotes From Top Companies and Save

secured lock Secured with SHA-256 Encryption

Is a breach of confidentiality by an HR departmentgrounds for a lawsuit?

A co-worker of mine was told that her position was re-classified (new title, lower pay grade, but maintained current salary). She was very upset and went to talk to HR. During the discussion, it came up that she was not alone. HR told her that the same thing had happened to me. The co-worker came to talk to me about it. HR clearly divulged confidential information. I am wondering if it would be enough damage to my career to bring a lawsuit against the company?

Asked on October 15, 2010 under Employment Labor Law, New York


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 12 years ago | Contributor

No, there is no cause of action here:

1) The information is not truly that which is a violation of privacy to disclose--e.g. health information, family status information, bank account information, social security number, etc. It's information about how positions within the company--i.e. positions created by the company, which it determines how much information about is known. It is unprofessional, but it is not likely the sort of information whose disclosure would sustain a privacy suit, since a company could choose to simply be transparent about salary information in the first place.

2) If the information is true, there is no defamation: defamation is the public statement of untrue factual information that damages a persons reputation.

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.

Get Legal Help Today

Find the right lawyer for your legal issue.

secured lock Secured with SHA-256 Encryption