Employment: What You Can and Cannot Do With an Employee's Social Security Number

01.01.12

Privacy concerns continue to be at the forefront of many Americans' minds. This seeps into the workplace when employers use Social Security Numbers (SSNs) as a way to identify specific employees. But, Oklahoma has a law on what you can and cannot do.

What you can do:

  • If you are the State or any political subdivision of the State, the law simply does not apply to you. Use good judgment.
  • You can collect, use, or release SSNs as required by state or federal law.
  • You can use an employee's SSN if that employee provides you written permission to do so.

What you cannot do:

  • Publicly post, display, or communicate an employee's SSN
  • Print the SSN on an employee card required for the employee to access information, products, or services provided by the employer
  • Require an employee to transmit his/her SSN over the Internet unless the connection is secure or the SSN is encrypted
  • Require an employee to use their SSN to access an Internet web site, unless a password or unique personal identification number or other authentication device is also required to access the web site
  • Print the SSN on any materials that are mailed to the employee, unless state or federal law requires it (note: SSNs may be included in applications and forms sent by mail to confirm the accuracy of the SSN)

For those of you who recollect that these rules do not apply to a health benefit membership identification card, that is no longer true. For any such card issued after January 1, 2005, it should not bear the employee's SSN.

Your best bet - don't use an employee's SSN if there is any other identifier which would also work.

By Kristen L. Brightmire, kbrightmire@dsda.com

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Rebecca D. Bullard

Rebecca D. Bullard

Rebecca represents clients primarily in labor and employment litigation and counsels clients regarding everyday employment matters. 

Oklahoma Employer's Law Blog

 


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