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Do I give employee info to police? California

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  • Do I give employee info to police? California


    I received a call from one of the local police departments, they are in Santa Clara, CA and our business is in Palo Alto, CA, asking if a person they are looking for is employed with our company. I got the name and birthdate which matches a long term employee and then asked why they are looking for him. The police officer said that he is looking for our employee because a car registered to him was in an auto accident in his city and they are researching it; I told him I would call back after I verified his identity. In the meantime, I called the employee, who lives 120 miles away, to ask if he was involved in any traffic incidents in Santa Clara and if he owned a car like the one they are looking for. He said he hadn't been in Santa Clara since he had to work at a job there and he doesn't own that kind of car.

    My question is, how much information do I give to the police department? Do I simply verify that he is an employee and pass along the message? Or do I answer all questions to be cooperative?


  • #2
    Whether this guy was or was not involved in any accident is not for you to decide. If the police want to talk to him, let them. You could be charge with interferring in a police investagation for refussing to cooperate.


    • #3
      Obviously, I asked from an HR perspective with every intention to cooperate without violating employee rights; so my question was how much information to give out when asked.

      Can you or anyone answer that question? I don't need an opinon on whether or not I am interferring, but thanks for your response.


      • #4
        You can give out as much or as little information as you wish. This is not a legal matter.


        • #5
          Thank you!!


          • #6
            Agreed with everything said, but just to be clear, someone calling on the phone saying that they are police officer does not necessarily make them a police officer. And giving out information to someone who is not actually a police officer could turn into a legal matter, depending on what the information was.
            "Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away".
            Philip K. **** (1928-1982)


            • #7
              Thanks again, that is why I called to verify his identiy and I did a little looking on the internet.

              I know it will be okay to tell him the employee works here, I was more concerned about giving out the employee information without something in writing from the police and violating my employee's privacy in some way. I have never had this situation happen, so I am concerned about the amount of info I give out.


              • #8
                Sounds to me like you did the right thing.
                If this happened to me a couple things would have raised flags.

                First off the Police rarely call. They usually show up. I'm not saying they don't ever call but most of the time they do this stuff in person. That would have been something alone to cause me to pause before giving any info.

                Second they rarely tell you why they need the information. They have privacy concerns also and usually say they can't divulge information. Rare they would tell you what it was about.

                Here I have a policy that if anyone calls and ask for information like last names or personal phone numbers to direct the call to a supervisor and never give it out. You just never know now a days. If the police have due cause for the information I suspect they would show up with a court order and not call.

                Good luck.


                • #9
                  Thanks a lot for your response, good points.


                  • #10
                    Also, I have had experience with collection companies doing some sneaky stuff just to see if their targets are employed.
                    I always ask for a written request, and if suspicious I don't respond. If they need info that bad and they are valid, then a subpoena can be issued.


                    • #11
                      Anybody ask for information about any employee, include employment verification, I always ask them to fax me the request in their letter head , if I am not comfortable, I will check if their fax number belongs to what they say they are before I release the information. I also keep a copy of it , just in case. Hope this helps.


                      • #12
                        I found this intriguing and agree with the responses as an HR manager. I always had something in writing before I even agreed to discuss the matter with them. Telephone solitication is a red flag, to me.

                        Also, I would not think it was the right thing to do to call the employee and asked him if he or his vehicle was involved in unlawful conduct until I had something to go on, one way or the other. JMO.

                        I'm curious, how did it turn out ?


                        • #13
                          The police do sometimes use telephones if they are not local. I've had this happen twice. Once was a PD from a location about 4 hours from here, the other was someone from the FBI.

                          In both cases, I got the name of their department and googled the numbers and called and asked for the person who called before giving out any information.
                          I find that the harder I work, the more luck I seem to have.
                          Thomas Jefferson


                          • #14
                            I had a plain-clothes person show up at my retail store and tell me he was a cop and someone was making obscene phone calls from my phone repeatedly and was recorded on a phone trap. He said it was pretty rough talk.

                            I certainly believed he was a cop.

                            He gave me the hours of a couple of times and one guy was on duty both times, so I gave out name, address, etc.

                            The calls stopped. The guy was a good old employee and so stayed with us, but died 6 months later of cancer.


                            • #15
                              Thinker - please do us a favor and check the dates before you post. We prefer that dead threads not be resurrected. This one is close to two years old.
                              The above answer, whatever it is, assumes that no legally binding and enforceable contract or CBA says otherwise. If it does, then the terms of the contract or CBA apply.


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