Policy on Information Privacy and Security
1. Public Information
No staff member of the Agency is permitted to appear on programs on behalf of the Agency or to release any information to the news media except with approval of the President and CEO. This does not include assignments as teachers or instructors, or in the publication of material in professional bulletins as pre arranged.
2. Confidentiality of Information
It is critical to treat our clients with respect - to do everything to keep them safe while in our care. That includes a strict commitment to confidentiality.
Employees are to hold information on students, consumers, family and staff in the strictest confidence. Employees do not have the right to discuss matters concerning students or consumers with anyone, except when such discussion is part of a professional plan of service for the student or consumer. Any information regarding the Agency consumers may not be relayed or transferred outside of this agency without prior written consent of consumer, parent or legal guardian, as appropriate. Breach of confidentiality may be just cause for immediate dismissal. Refer to SOP R403, Confidential Consumer Records.
All staff will be required to sign an acknowledgment confirming their understanding and agreement with The Kennedy Center's confidentiality policy. This will be provided in addition to the sign off sheet for the Policy & Procedure Manual.
3. Consumer Records
a. All consumer case records are maintained in locked cabinets.
b. Access to view consumer case records is limited to personnel on a need to know basis. Refer to SOP R402, Case Record System and SOP 403, Confidential Consumer Records.
c. All consumer database binders will be maintained in locked cabinets and access to the database computer program will be limited to authorized personnel and password protected.
4. Personnel Records
a. It shall be the responsibility of the President and CEO or his designee to maintain appropriate and complete personnel records for each staff member.
b. All status changes will be recorded in writing and a copy filed in the personnel file of the employee concerned.
c. All employees shall have access to their employment files. Files must be reviewed with either the President and CEO, a Vice President or the Vice President of Human Resources present.
d. If anything is put into an employee's file, it must be seen by the employee prior to insertion. Any employee has the right to contest in writing any material put into their own file and have it attached to the objectionable article.
e. Employees have the right to go through the grievance procedure if they wish to have something removed from their files.
The Agency will at all times take reasonable steps to protect and maintain the confidentiality and integrity of the personnel files. Any time a personnel file is viewed by a supervisor or authorized individual, written documentation will be made on a sign out sheet located above the personnel files and maintained by the Human Resources Department. Review of files is limited to performance evaluation purposes, emergency, maintenance of files, and those directly related to the operation of the organization's programs and services.
When a file is reviewed the sign out sheet must indicate date reviewed, staff person or authorized individual viewing file, name of record, time removed, time replaced and purpose.
Authorized individuals are limited to the President and CEO of the Agency or his designee, the Vice President of Human Resources or the Supervisor of the employee.
Funding officials, court officials, inspectors, auditors, or those individuals requiring information for agency compliance purposes can review files only in the presence of the President and CEO or his designee. No information can be removed from a file permanently without the agreed upon in writing by the employee, President and CEO and Supervisor.
5. Protection of Personal Information and Social Security Numbers
Certain personal information, including Social Security numbers and driver license numbers, may be collected in the course of our business. The agency will make reasonable efforts to protect the confidentiality of this information. The agency will protect the confidentiality of Social Security numbers collected by the agency by maintaining physical, electronic and procedural safeguards to protect confidentiality including:
- Limiting access to Social Security numbers collected by the agency.
- Prohibiting unlawful disclosure of Social Security numbers collected by the agency.
- Destroying, erasing or making unreadable such data, computer files and documents prior to disposal.
- Reviewing these safeguards on a regular basis.
6. Employee Emergency Records Access and Update
All emergency medical records are maintained as part of the medical records in the Human Resource department. Access to these records can be obtained by contacting the President and CEO, Vice President of Human Resources, or Administrator in charge. The Executive Secretary, Human Resources Administrative Assistant II and Vice President of Human Resources have keys to the file where these records are kept.
7. Disclosure of Information on Personnel Files
No disclosure of information maintained in personnel files will be provided to unauthorized individuals without the written approval by the employee with the following exceptions:
- Disclosure to third parties which maintain employment records;
- Responses to administrative summons or judicial order;
- Responses to government order or investigation;
- Responses to a request by a law enforcement agency for an employee's home address and dates of attendance;
- Responses to a medical emergency;
- Compliance with any other federal, state or local law or regulation.
8. Agency Reference
All requests for work and educational references of current or past employees of The Kennedy Center, either written or by telephone, must be directed to the Vice President of Human Resources or the President and CEO. Information regarding employees past or present cannot be provided by anyone other than the President and CEO or Vice President of Human Resources.
Those individuals who are currently employed by the Center in the capacity of a supervisor or manager, cannot be considered as or provide a personal reference for a fellow employee.
The Agency will respond to written inquiries only. All written inquiries will be responded to in writing and a copy will be placed in the individual's personnel file. Confirmation of dates of hire and position held will be provided.
Any information provided will be based on employee's evaluation and performance data as documented in the individual's personnel file.
9. Facsimile, E-mail and Internet Access
The Agency Facsimile, E-mail and Internet access are provided to the Center employees in order to facilitate the performance of their job duties. Facsimile, E-mail and materials from the Internet are not confidential or private and the Center employees should have no expectation of privacy when using agency provided hardware and software. Therefore, at no time may staff fax, e-mail or forward information of a confidential nature outside of the Agency without prior written consent of the consumer, parent or legal guardian, as appropriate. This policy also covers the faxing or e-mailing of any confidential information relating to personnel of The Kennedy Center. A fax machine is maintained in the Human Resource department for receipt of confidential information from outside the Agency. Access to this fax machine is limited to authorized personnel. In addition, unsolicited faxes soliciting registrations for conferences, workshops; selling a product or service; seeking membership dues; seeking sponsorship or requesting proposals for paid services may not be sent to anyone, including Kennedy Center members without their expressed prior consent.
As with any work place communication, the use of profanity or any offensive remarks, language or content sent is considered unacceptable and will result in disciplinary action. Any transmission or use of Facsimile, E-mail or Internet communication which contains any form of communication that may be construed as harassing, or offensive to others based on their race, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, age, disability, religion or political beliefs, or any other characteristics protected by federal, state or local law, is strictly prohibited and may result in appropriate disciplinary action.
10. Computer Security
All agency personnel will be provided with password protection for their computers. At no time may staff breach the security of protected information under the Agency's system. Access to computer design and programming will be limited to authorized personnel.
11. Privacy Rights Violated
If a staff member or consumer of the Agency believes his/her privacy rights have been violated, he/she may file a formal written complaint with the Vice President of Human Resources and Administrative Services. The complaint will be investigated and the person will be advised of the finding and conclusion.