A superior of mine has sent out a spreadsheet with everyone's personal contact information. I did not approve this and I do not think it is okay to have everyone personal identifying information available to everyone. How do I politely tell them that this is unacceptable?

  • 3
    Are there any plausible circumstances under which it would be critical for a coworker to reach you outside of work (or office) hours? Commented Sep 29, 2018 at 1:03
  • 7
    Sent out to who?
    – Kilisi
    Commented Sep 29, 2018 at 1:10
  • 5
    What type of PII are we talking about? Stuff that is available on the public domain (e.g. name, phone number, etc.) or something more private in nature? Also, what type of job do you have? Commented Sep 30, 2018 at 22:51
  • 1
    Where are you located? Local laws may matter here.
    – David K
    Commented Oct 1, 2018 at 12:11
  • This is one reason why I give as little personal information to my employer as possible.
    – puppetsock
    Commented Oct 1, 2018 at 18:33

2 Answers 2


How do I politely tell them that this is unacceptable?

Just talk with them politely. Tell them that you are not comfortable having your contact information available to everyone. Decide ahead of time if you want to delve into why you are uncomfortable, or if you would rather simply indicate your objection without details. Indicating why, even if not necessary, makes your argument more powerful.

Avoid the word "unacceptable" unless you are willing to quit or unless you are in a locale where such disclosure is illegal and you are willing to file a lawsuit or unless you are planning to try and take this to a higher level within your company. Saying basically that you won't accept is a mild threat and implies that you'll do something if they don't remove your contact information. And if you go this route anyway, be specific regarding what you will do.

I'm assuming this contact list was to be used for emergency communications or critical after-hours contact. In some companies and roles, you are expected to be reachable. This happens at a lot of companies (including several where I worked), but usually a request for the information is sent out before actually including it. It's unfortunate that your company didn't give folks a way to opt out.


Frame it as a collaborative question, i.e. "help me understand why you need so much PII."

"I was recently looking at the contact information this spreadsheet and I noticed a lot of personally identifiable information - perhaps more than necessary - is on here. How is this information going to be used?"


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