Employee Confidentiality

Confidential information may include both oral and written communications as well as electronic data such as information stored on computers. Employees should not reveal any confidential information unless they have a clear responsibility to do so.

Confidentiality Policy

Policy should clearly set out the expectations of the board of education (board) concerning employee conduct. This may be in a separate confidentiality policy or it may be included as part of the policy on freedom of information and privacy.

Points which should be addressed in policy or procedure include:

  • specification of those who have a duty of confidentiality including all staff, board members, school community council members and volunteers;
  • identification of various types of confidential information including oral, written and electronic;
  • how employees will be educated about the general requirements of LAFOIP;
  • employees who violate the policy will be subject to possible disciplinary action, up to and including the possible termination of the employment contract; and
  • process for determining who makes decisions on when to release information.

As part of the policy, boards might require that personnel sign a statement in which they acknowledge that they are aware of their duties concerning confidentiality. Such a document should state that the person is aware of the requirements for confidentiality and that he or she has received a copy of any policy, and has had an opportunity to review the policy. The document should not place any onus on the employee that is not clearly set out in policy.

It is important that the policy be brought to the employee’s attention before they sign the acknowledgement. Boards should ensure that employees have a clear understanding of what their obligations are under the policy. A confidentiality statement will not eliminate problems but will ensure that people are aware of board policy.

Generally speaking all information learned during the course of employment by board employees should be considered confidential unless clearly identified otherwise.