Minnesota Statute 268.19 provides in part that: “…data gathered from any employer or individual....are private data on individuals or nonpublic data....and may not be disclosed except pursuant to a court order...”
Private data is information on individuals. Nonpublic data is information on entities other than individuals, such as corporations and partnerships. Under the Minnesota Government Data Practices Act , private data is available only to the employer involved and to DEED employees who need the information to carry out official duties. Nonpublic data is essentially treated the same as private data.
The Minnesota Code of Ethics governs disclosure of private information by employees of the State of Minnesota. The Code states:
“An employee… shall not use confidential information to further the employee’s private interest, and shall not accept outside employment or involvement in a business or activity that will require the employee to disclose or use confidential information.”
For example, you may not use the wage detail file to track down a person that owes you money, or to do an informal credit check on someone that may buy your car.
The Code also states:
“Any person who willfully violates the provisions of this chapter or any rules adopted under this chapter is guilty of a misdemeanor. Willful violation of this chapter by any public employee constitutes just cause for suspension without pay or dismissal of the public employee.”