Employers should be aware of a new Virginia law set to take effect July 1. Under the new statute, employers are not required to disclose the “personal identifying information” of current and former employees to third parties unless one of the specified exceptions applies. As signed into law on March 18, Virginia Code § 40.1-28.7:4 defines “personal identifying information” as home telephone number, mobile telephone number, email address, shift times, or work schedule.” There are four exemptions specified in the law, allowing release of a current or former employee’s personal identifying information when it is required (1) pursuant to federal law that preempts the statute; (2) by a court order; (3) pursuant to a judicially issued warrant; or (4) by a subpoena in a pending civil or criminal case or by discovery in a civil case.
It should be noted that the new law says an employer is not “required” to disclose the information unless the exceptions apply. This allows the employer to disclose the information at the employer’s option. Employers should now decide whether to institute a policy of declining to disclose certain information to someone who might inquire about an employee. For example, if someone calls a business asking whether a particular employee is on duty at a particular time, the employer can decline to provide that information citing this new law. The law appears to be intended to give employers some additional options to protect worker privacy.