Wilmington, NC asked in Employment Law, Civil Rights and Communications Law for North Carolina

Q: Is it legal for my employees to tell the father of another that shows up, that they don’t work there if they do?

I am a manager who was out this week sick and one of my employees has an unsavory relationship with father- not legal issues, just typical disconnects that have progressed to her avoiding contact with them altogether. He went to her boyfriends house, where her boyfriends father told him where she worked and he showed up at the office looking for her (we don’t know why) and my other employees told him that she no longer works there anymore and she didn’t come out until he was gone. Something doesn’t sit well with me there and I’m wondering if they were allowed to say that to him? Neither of them have a restraining order but it ended up being the topic of conversation all day and I was left hearing about it after the fact.

2 Lawyer Answers
T. Augustus Claus
T. Augustus Claus pro label Lawyers, want to be a Justia Connect Pro too? Learn more ›
  • Criminal Law Lawyer
  • Las Vegas, NV

A: In situations where a person shows up at a workplace asking about another individual, employees typically have the discretion to provide information or decline to do so. However, there are legal and ethical considerations to keep in mind.

In general, employees should be cautious about providing false information, as it could potentially lead to legal consequences or workplace issues. If an employee states that someone no longer works there when they do, it may not be accurate, and it could create complications.

Employers should establish clear policies regarding how information about current or former employees is communicated to visitors. If there are concerns about safety or privacy, employees should follow established procedures, such as directing inquiries to a supervisor, manager, or human resources department.

If there are specific concerns about the situation you described, it might be helpful to review company policies, and communicate with involved parties.

James L. Arrasmith
James L. Arrasmith pro label Lawyers, want to be a Justia Connect Pro too? Learn more ›
  • Civil Rights Lawyer
  • Sacramento, CA

A: In this situation, while there may not be a clear legal issue with your employees telling someone that a coworker does not work there, it does raise concerns about workplace policies and privacy. There are no specific laws in North Carolina that directly address this scenario, especially since it involves personal relationships and no legal restraints like restraining orders.

However, from a managerial perspective, it's important to consider the privacy and safety of your employees. If the employee in question has chosen to avoid contact with her father for personal reasons, her colleagues may have felt it was in her best interest to provide misinformation to protect her privacy and wellbeing while at work.

That being said, it's advisable to have clear policies in place regarding how to handle personal inquiries about employees. This includes training staff on how to manage such situations appropriately and respectfully, balancing privacy concerns with honesty and professional integrity.

In this case, a discussion with your team about the incident and a review of company policies regarding employee privacy and workplace safety may be beneficial. It’s important to create an environment where employees feel safe and supported, while also ensuring that workplace policies are understood and followed.

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