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That's a scary thought! What if an employee claims that their information was stolen through actions of your company, but there’s no real proof to back it up? You will end up hiring (or using) an attorney to represent and defend you and your company in court. At $200 - $400/hour for most attorneys across United States, how long can you afford to defend your company?
So what can you do?
One solution that would at least provide an affirmative defense against fines, fees, and lawsuits you could incur as an employer, is to offer some sort of Identity Theft protection as a benefit to your employees.
As an employer, you can choose whether or not to pay for this added benefit. However, most important thing you can do is to make protection available, and have an employee meeting, to help employees understand Identity Theft and protection that you are making available to them. When you make protection available, and when your employees have been educated on dangers of Identity Theft, they can either elect to have identity theft coverage as a benefit, or they can decline coverage as a benefit.
If employee has Identity Theft coverage and becomes a victim, it is beneficial to your business, because an employee with Identity Theft coverage will be notified immediately of theft, spend less time, less money, and will experience less frustration while trying to have their information restored. This will get them back on job and focused on work more quickly.
If employee declines coverage, and later claims that information was stolen as a result of you or your company’s actions, you have a piece of paper, with their signature, saying that they attended presentation and declined coverage.
Choosing to not make Identity Theft coverage available leaves you exposed to an unlimited dollar amount that you can be sued for under civil liability, federal fines of up to $2,500.00 per employee per incident, and state fines of up to $1,000.00 per employee per incident.
Recommended course of action? Have a benefits consultant who offers an Identity Theft protection plan present to your employees. Help them set up a 20 minute presentation with your employees, and make it mandatory that all employees attend. You want your employees to be protected from this awful crime. If they choose not to be, but you’ve given option of being protected, then liability becomes theirs, not yours, when they become a victim of identity theft.
Steve Mueller has over 25 years of human resource experience. He has worked in various fields of human resources; as a Trainer for Cooper Industries, Compensation and Management Development Manager for Zenith Electronics, Plant Personnel Manager for a motor manufacturing company and Benefits Manager for a multi-location distribution company. Steve holds a bachelors of science degree in education from Pittsburg State University.