Confidentiality

Employee Rights and Responsibilities

Elms College maintains strict confidentiality requirements and regulations in compliance with the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 as amended (FERPA), and Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPPA) in addition to other federal and state laws. These pertain to the security and privacy of all non-public information including student information, employee information, and general College information whether it is in hard copy or electronic form. Documents that include confidential information like social security numbers; student education records; individuals medical, benefits, compensation, loan, or financial aid data; and faculty and staff evaluations need to be secured during printing, transmission (including by fax), storage and disposal.

Many employees learn confidential College information in the course of their jobs and use it to perform important functions. It is vitally important that all employees handle confidential information properly.

Receipt of information from other individuals, institutions and organizations, is one of our most valuable resources which require responsible use by Elms College personnel. Often, such information contains trade secrets and/or is considered confidential. Access to confidential information is restricted to those who have a need to know or use the information data, as defined by job duties and subject to appropriate approval. Anyone who receives confidential information has a responsibility to maintain and safeguard this information and to use it with consideration and ethical regard for others. Circumventing or attempting to circumvent restrictions on the use and dissemination of confidential information is considered a serious offense.

In general,

  • If information about Elms has not been made public by the College, it should be treated as confidential; and
  • Information is confidential even if you know it incidentally rather than because it is part of your job.


Non-Disclosure and Non-Use

Employees may not disclose to authorized persons or use for their own personal benefit or profit of another, any confidential information that they obtain as a result of their employment at Elms. This obligation continues after an employee's employment with the College ends.

Public Disclosures

Employees may be asked for information about the College by the media, trade groups, consultants and others collecting information for various purposes. No employee should make public statements on behalf of the College or provide confidential information in response to external inquiries unless he/she has been authorized to do so.

Proper Disclosure

Some employees must disclose confidential College information as a part of their job responsibilities. This policy concerning confidential information is not intended to prohibit such authorized disclosures.

A few examples of situations in which confidential information might properly be disclosed are:

  • Disclosure of operational data to vendors/consultants in connection with providing services to the College;
  • Participation in legitimate and authorized surveys;
  • Providing data to government agencies as part of required filings; or
  • An authorized employee responding to media or financial analyst inquiries.

Employees should be certain that they understand what they have been authorized to disclose, and to whom, prior to disclosing any confidential information.

Access

The College will maintain strict control over access to work locations, records, computer information, and cash and other items of monetary value. Employees who are assigned keys, given special access or assigned job responsibilities in connection with the safety, security or confidentiality of such records, materials, equipment, or items of monetary value will be required to use sound judgment and discretion in carrying out their duties and will be held accountable for any wrongdoing or acts of indiscretion. Furthermore, information may not be divulged, copied, released, sold, loaned, reviewed, altered or destroyed except as properly authorized within the scope of applicable federal or state laws.

Respect for the Confidential Information of Others

Some employees may become familiar with another college's or person's confidential information in connection with the performance of their jobs. College employees must take care to respect the proprietary nature of this information and not use it or reveal it without authorization.