Firms Keep Worker Data Close to the Vest

August 24, 2004 ( - The overwhelming majority (95%) of HR professionals keep employee personnel files under lock and key and restrict the number of people able to access them.

That was one finding of a recent Web survey by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), an HR trade group, about what companies are doing to protect their workers against dangers such as identity theft.

In addition to keeping HR data locked away, the poll also found that companies are limiting the use of social security numbers on time sheets, computer log-ins and forms. Other responses included:

  • 54% said their organization had a written privacy policy safeguarding employee data
  • 49% said they conduct background checks on employees who have access to employee files
  • 24% said they educate employees on fraud prevention
  • 21% said their organization has a company policy on what to do in the event employee information is compromised
  • 2% said their organization contracts with an outside firm that helps employees who are victims of identity theft.

The survey covered 419 HR professionals, according to a SHRM news release.