Virginia takes workers’ privacy to a new level

Starting July 1, 2013, new Virginia Code §40.1-28.7:4 provides that “employers shall not, unless a listed exemption applies, be required to release, communicate, or distribute to a third-party, any current or former employee’s personal identifying information.”

In this context, “personal identifying information” is defined as a “home telephone number, mobile telephone number, e-mail address, shift times, or work schedule.”  Exceptions permitting the disclosure of such information include requirements of federal laws that supersede state statutes, court orders, judicial warrants or a subpoena in a civil or criminal case. Although there is no penalty, the statute establishes a public policy that endorses protection of the personal identifying information and could be used in a lawsuit against employers.