Employee distrusts our third-party cloud-based benefits tool – do we have to let him opt out?

We use a third party tool for managing our employee’s benefits, on boarding new employees, and general employee information. We have an employee that does not believe this vendor’s tool to be safe in protecting their information. They have requested that all of their information be removed from this tool (site). Do we legally have to abide by their wishes?

Rita Risser Chai Responds:

Maybe. You have a duty to ensure that your employee information is kept secure and private. This employee’s concerns may put you on notice that the information is not secure. You can start by asking the employee why he has this belief. Did he read about security breaches that happened at this particular company, or is he just generally fearful of tools such as this? You can ask the company if they have had security breaches in the past and what they do to maintain security. If as a result of these inquiries you find that the information is not safe, you need to stop using this vendor for the sake of all employees. If you find it is safe, the employee needs to accept this tool as one of the conditions of his employment. If he doesn’t like it, he can leave. Good luck.

Posted 04-11-2017

Information here is correct at the time it is posted. Case decisions cited here may be reversed. Please do not rely on this information without consulting an attorney first.


About the Author:

Rita M. Risser Chai is the founder of Fair Measures. An attorney in California for 20 years and now an attorney in Hawaii, she authored the Prentice Hall book, Stay Out of Court! The Manager’s Guide to Preventing Employee Lawsuits. She developed most of the curriculum used by Fair Measures, created the firm’s first website praised in HR Magazine, and wrote numerous articles on employment law including one on best practice harassment prevention training published in the magazine of the American Society for Training and Development (now ATD). She taught Law and Human Resources at the University of California, Santa Cruz, for eight years, and has presented four times at the annual conventions of the Hawaii Society of Human Resource Management.