If my personal financial information has been compromised by my employer, is this grounds for legal action?

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If my personal financial information has been compromised by my employer, is this grounds for legal action?

HR sent personal financial information to the company e-mail for me and the subject line read “garnishment”. It was due to unpaid medical bills. Unfortunately this info was made public to 3 people in the office. My privacy has been compromised and you would think that human resources of all people would know better. Do I have grounds to take legal action?

Asked on November 19, 2011 under Employment Labor Law, Virginia

Answers:

MD, Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

Here is the issue. You do not have a privacy interest in work emails. You can expect that anything sent or received by company email is not private. Second, a wage garnishment is a public matter; it is based already on a public action or public right of action. If this concerns medical bills, then this matter would most likely be made public. So the invasion of privacy or personal financial information being compromised is truly non-existent. Is it appropriate? Absolutely not. However, unless your personal bank account information was in the email, then the garnishment itself is not a compromise.


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