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info about everyone's salary WWYD?

(22 Posts)
grumpysquash3 Thu 13-Apr-17 22:26:26

I was (legitimately) looking for a budget document in a shared folder at work, and opened a spreadsheet. As well as the budget info, it also contained a list of everyone's salaries, dating back to 2014 with forecasts to 2019.

'Everyone' really means that, including the CEO, and other senior folk. It also had details of bonuses and other stuff.

I can't un-see it and feel very bad that I know all the relativities and actual amounts. It's also in a document that anyone in the company could theoretically access.

WWYD? Tell someone? Ignore it? FWIW, we are not a very big company, about 50 people, not sure if that makes any difference.

llhj Thu 13-Apr-17 22:30:54

Well it was an accident so you're not blame. It was in shared so you're not snooping. It shouldn't be there so inform the person responsible. Nowt to do with you.

amaranthie Thu 13-Apr-17 22:33:14

I would put a password on the document and tell the person responsible for it. The information should be confidential and needs to be protected.

grumpysquash3 Fri 14-Apr-17 11:18:48

It definitely should be confidential! How can a password be put on?
I'm actually not sure who is responsible for the document - it could be any of about 5 very senior people......

daisychain01 Fri 14-Apr-17 19:05:02

I'm amazed that such sensitive data is posted in a non-secure environment.

You can go into the Excel Properties and see who created and also who last updated the file. Approach that person and highlight the lack of security and confidentiality.

I would not recommend putting a password protect on a file that isn't your's. If you forget the password, the file is completely unrecoverable, and it could look like you have interfered with something that isn't your responsibility. Advising the owner means they have to take the action.

Blinkyblink Fri 14-Apr-17 19:11:53

Do. Not. Posit. A. Password. On. It.

I'm afraid that is not good advice.

It is not your document to do anything with, least of all restrict access to yourself, irrespective of how short a time.

Send a one liner to HR, explaining you came across what you regard a sensitive document in X and don't think it should be freely available

Leave at that. It's the right and professional thing to do

grumpysquash3 Fri 14-Apr-17 21:27:52

Unfortunately we are too small a company to have an HR department or even a person, but I would if we had one.
I didn't know you could find out who created the document. That sounds like a good idea, but would mean opening it up again (I'm a bit worried that this will somehow fall on my neck). But maybe better than doing nothing....
Part of me just wants to not acknowledge that I've even seen it. I am now party to all the grade and salary inequalities.

daisychain01 Fri 14-Apr-17 21:43:21

I would resist the temptation of placing value judgements on what you've seen. Therein lies a rocky road.

Whatever you've seen was not for your eyes so just resolve the matter quickly and professionally.

You have no idea for certain that the data is current. Data falls out of currency very quickly. You need to distance yourself as quickly as possible .

Shortdarkandfeisty Fri 14-Apr-17 21:46:52

You should report it, I agree. And assure whoever you tell that you respect confidentiality. Font put a password on it, it's not your file. It is a data protection issue and the owner should move it PDQ.

Shortdarkandfeisty Fri 14-Apr-17 21:48:32

Or you could do nothing. But if you have IT people they may know you accessed it. It may even show now that you're the last user who opened it. But you haven't done anything wrong so I wouldn't worry about that.

QuiteLikely5 Fri 14-Apr-17 21:51:13

I would do absolutely nothing.

PebbleInTheMoonlight Fri 14-Apr-17 22:02:57

Let your line manager know. That's sensitive information and a potential DPA breach.

Accessing the information and not flagging it as a risk could place responsibility on you for not acting on a known potential data breach.

Make sure your report to line manager is on email to provide a paper trail then never access the file again.

ThePinkOcelot Mon 17-Apr-17 22:07:16

So you had a good look at it then?!

LadyLapsang Tue 18-Apr-17 06:44:14

Working in the public sector I find the responses interesting. Senior salaries have been in the public domain for some time and we all know everyone's salary within a range. With large companies (OP, your company is too small) now being required to publish their gender pay gap, more information will be in the public domain. I think this is a good thing. OP, based on what you have seen, do you think you are being paid fairly?

Heratnumber7 Tue 18-Apr-17 06:52:08

How long did you spend reading it to know everyone's salary and bonuses OP? winkblush
You should have closed the document as soon as you realised what it was.

I'd report it to your line manager and let her/him deal with it.

flowery Tue 18-Apr-17 13:59:23

If you are party to all the grades, bonuses and differentials you obviously spent a fair while browsing through it. I suggest you keep quiet about that when you tell someone.

What you (or anyone) should do in these circumstances is shut the document down immediately, then tell someone (line manager, director, whoever) immediately so that they can take the necessary steps to ensure the document is secured and the problem doesn't become more widespread.

Not start a thread discussing it on Mumsnet and leave it potentially days before you actually tell anyone, thereby opening yourself up to accusations of holding on to it, copying it, browsing it, not reporting a data breach, etc. They may be able to see that you opened it last week.

woollychimp Tue 18-Apr-17 20:42:10

I would do nothing, like a pp said.

Why do you feel bad about having seen it? I assume (as you haven't said so) that you haven't copied it.

grumpysquash3 Tue 18-Apr-17 21:43:37

I did have a look at it - I was using it to put a budget together, and for that there is a table of staff costs. What I hadn't expected was that if you scrolled over a bit there was a list of actual staff names against the forecasted costs! (I already knew everyone's grades, like I say, it's a small place).
I work in a sector which doesn't have significant gender differences in pay, and I am paid in line with my grade, so happy about both of those things. Executive salaries were a bit of an eye opener!
I think I will have to tell my line manager. She's on holiday until next week though...

grumpysquash3 Tue 18-Apr-17 21:45:44

Thanks for your post. I am a bit worried they will be able to see that I opened it last week sad

daisychain01 Wed 19-Apr-17 05:14:30

I think that, provided you made no actual changes to the file, there is no way of seeing that you opened the file. File Properties shows who created the file, and who last updated it. Not who opened it.

Based on what you've described about your job role, you have a justifiable reason for accessing the file, to build budgets, so it isn't like you were snooping around without valid reason.

As flowery says, get this matter highlighted to your manager PDQ (or the file owner/originator in File Properties) and demonstrate your motivation is towards data privacy.

daisychain01 Wed 19-Apr-17 05:20:04

Don't whatever you do talk about it with anyone in the office. There was a thread on here (last week I think?) where the person made an issue about some salary levels and ended up losing their job over it (had been in the company < 2 years so it was an easier thing for management to do).

grumpysquash3 Wed 19-Apr-17 22:07:58

daisy My lips are firmly sealed (apart from here!)

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