Many Nebraska employers are unaware they now have restrictions on the use of social security numbers. See Neb. Rev. Stat. § 48-237.
Under Nebraska law employers may not:
- Publicly post or publicly display in any manner more than the last four digits of an employee’s social security number, including intentional communication of more than the last four digits of the social security number or otherwise making more than the last four digits of the social security number available to the general public or to an employee’s coworkers;
- Require an employee to transmit more than the last four digits of his or her social security number of the Internet unless the communication is secure or the information is encrypted;
- Require an employee to use more than the last four digits of his or her social security number to access an Internet web site unless a password, unique personal identification number, or other authentication device is also required to access the Internet web site; or
- Require an employee to use more than the last four digits of his or her social security number as an employee number for any type of employment-related activity.
Employers may still use more than the last four digits of a social security number for:
- Compliance with state or federal laws, rules, or regulations;
- Internal administrative purposes, including provision of more than the last four digits of social security numbers to third parties for such purposes as administration of personnel benefit provisions for the employer and employment screening and staffing; and
- Commercial transactions freely and voluntarily entered into by the employee with the employer for the purchase of goods or services.
However, in using the social security numbers for internal administrative purposes, employers may not use the:
- As an identification number for occupational licensing;
- As an identification number for drug-testing purposes except when required by state or federal law;
- As an identification number for company meetings;
- In files with unrestricted access within the company;
- In files accessible by any temporary employee unless the temporary employee is bonded or insured under a blanket corporate surety bond or equivalent commercial insurance; and
- For posting any type of company information.
A violation of the statute is guilty of a Class V misdemeanor, and evidence of such a conviction is admissible in a civil trial as evidence of the employer’s negligence.
As a consequence of § 48-237, employers are cautioned to only collect, retain and use social security numbers for legitimate purposes. Employer procedures should restrict access to documents containing social security number, and use should be limited as set forth in this law.