Need to know

red and yellow stop sticker

Photo by Linda Eller-Shein on Pexels.com

“You’re on a need to know basis, and you don’t need to know.”

The above phrase gets tossed around a lot, but there are actual times when it applies. Yesterday, I ran into an instance from my employer that seems to fit this to a T.

The admin assistance to our department director came around with a new form to fill out. It supposedly is something that we have filled out previously and supposedly only has one line changed on the whole document. The supposed change is “to comply with federal grant requirements.” The added line really isn’t the issue for me though.

The document is basically a “driver screening” risk management form. I get that in order for me to drive a company vehicle, they have to ask certain questions and it is expected that I report certain details should circumstances require the necessity to do so. That isn’t really an issue for me. I understand the necessity of such a screening. HOWEVER…

The document goes on to ask about information that I believe is totally unnecessary and, quite frankly, a violation of my privacy by asking about my personal vehicle. As in, should I drive my personal vehicle during work hours and on work time. The document is asking for the kind of vehicle I drive and license plate (why would it matter what vehicle I drive if it is my vehicle?), what insurance company I use and the policy number (with specific amounts of coverage); it requires to inform my employer if I drop expected level of insurance to a lower level, and expects me to waive all rights as an employee if on company time and there is an accident in my personal vehicle.

Does this sound invasive? Is this typical? Do you willingly give your employer information they don’t really need?

Yes, there is travel required as part of my job. Yes, I do prefer to drive my personal vehicle instead of the crappy company cars. But, the requirements of this document are “part of my continued employment” with the company, as though the document and my driving my vehicle have anything to do with my job performance and skills as a trainer and software analyst.

A big part of me bristles as this whole thing. I can accept that my employer needs to know certain things about me, but I don’t accept that they need to know everything about me.

I partially joked with a co-worker who was feeling the same way as I was yesterday that it won’t be long and they’ll be asking for our homeowner’s insurance policies since we telecommute several days a week.

I can see the future, and I don’t like it.

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