Employment Records May Become Public Information
Minimum Wage Ballet Initiative Holds Hidden Landmines for Employers
The minimum wage issue on the ballot this fall contains a provision that would require employers to turn over sensitive employment records to any “employee or person acting on behalf of an employee” who requests the information. These requirements would include virtually all employees in Ohio.
Employers would be required to maintain the following records for a period of three years for all covered employees: name, address, occupation, pay rate, daily hours worked, and amount paid. With the two exceptions noted above, these records must be kept for virtually all employees – not just hourly employees but also employees in executive, administrative, professional or sales positions who do not typically track hours worked per day and who are not typically paid an hourly wage.
Employers would be required to provide their employees’ private salary records, home addresses and other personal information to any “employee or person acting on behalf of an employee” who requests the information. Under the ballot issue language, a “person acting on behalf of an employee” could be an individual, partnership, association, corporation, business trust, legal representative or any other organized group. So, for example, labor unions, class-action lawyers, or even a company’s competitors could request the information.
The potential result of the release of this information is troubling. Many employers use employees Social Security Number as identifying numbers, releasing this information could increase the possibility of identity theft for every employee. Also, since the language in the ballot issue would become part of the Ohio Constitution it would preempt Ohio’s public records law. Finally, making pay rates, staff size, salary trends and bonus data available could result in sensitive information being in the hands of a company’s competitor and union organizers.
As if these provisions were not troubling enough, non-complying employers could face civil suits, treble damages, costs and attorney’s fees if an employer was found to be in noncompliance.
If you have concerns about this provision and would like more information on how to combat this effort please contact a member of the OMA Public Policy Team, either Kevin Schmidt (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Ryan Augsburger (email@example.com) by email or by calling 614-224-5111.