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My employer (more specifically: HR) keeps opening free website accounts on my behalf (using my name, work email and DOB) on websites. Some are work-related, some are not, but in no case are relevant to the job that I'm doing. For example, some provide benefits like restaurant coupons, etc. No money is spent by HR or my employer. These voucher sites are paid for by data mining companies. And that's where the issue lays: You pay for a 10% discount with your privacy (and a ton of ads in your inbox).

Arguing with a bad image is a good idea, and it might work if the company would be smaller. But even HR are pretty much detached. My employer is a global IT company, with branches in five continents. This entire thing is sanctioned by the very head of HR and has the CEO's and board's blessing.

How can I let HR know that I don't want this (I'm happy to forfeit the benefits of these website, as they don't apply to me/I won't use them at all). Should I argue with privacy, which I'm concerned about (running the risk of bewildering them as most people don't even have an idea of what privacy is), or should I simply state that I don't wish to have these accounts because I don't need them?

If I knew it were illegal, I'd argue with the illegality, but I have not been able to determine whether this is legal or not (in Australia). I've found no answer to this question on the net, not even FairWorks or HumanRights have an answer. I could ask a solicitor/lawyer, but there must be an answer to this out there without spending 100 bucks in consultation fee...


Edit: I've closed the accounts today by talking to the website ops directly. Let's see if HR comes back to me. I may then need to cite my contract, the law or simply what constitutes good manners to them.

Thanks so much for all the answers.

  • Hi Hamilton, welcome to the Workplace! I edited your question to remove the legal aspect, since we don't answer legal questions here. Focusing on how to approach your boss and HR should still be on topic though and can hopefully get you a good answer! – David K Oct 31 '16 at 13:46
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    IANAL - opening an account using another person's name sounds like impersonation to me. – rath Oct 31 '16 at 13:59
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    It's not that my employer pretends to be me on these accounts. It's just like I'd open a Facebook account for user "rath", using your name, email and DOB, and send you the account activation link. Needless to say that I don't even activate these accounts. But that's a technicality. The account is still there. – Hamilton Oct 31 '16 at 14:05
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    It's a huge corp with their own HR dep. And this entire thing is sanctioned by the very head of HR and has the CEO's and boards blessing. – Hamilton Oct 31 '16 at 14:17
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    @Hamilton A huge corp is handing out your private information like DOB like free candy to spammers? Do you guys have no privacy laws over there? – nvoigt Oct 31 '16 at 14:20
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There's two aspects to this question. One is legal, the other professional.

From a legal POV, you need to talk to a lawyer. If it costs 100 bucks to get an answer/advice, so be it.

From a professional POV, there's a couple of things you can do. First of all, why is HR opening these accounts for you? Are they standard accounts which all employees must have? Is someone in HR specifically opening accounts only for you?

I would simply approach the HR manager and request that in the future they send you the links to sites, and allow you to sign up. At that point you might be able to refuse one account of another.

Hi [HR manager name here], I wanted to talk to you about these accounts which have been made for me. I feel very uncomfortable having someone else use my personal information to create accounts in my name. In the future may I please ask you to send me the links, and allow me to create my own accounts if I need them?

At the end of the day there's probably no good way to make them stop that will work if they still do it when you've asked them not to.

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  • Sorry, it's not my manager. It's HR that's doing it. No, the accounts are not required for work. They provide benefits such as restaurant coupons etc. I have edited my question to make it clearer that it's HR, not my manager. – Hamilton Oct 31 '16 at 13:57
  • @Hamilton Restaurant coupons? Is that something that could be used for your job (taking out clients, etc)? – David K Oct 31 '16 at 14:02
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    This sounds like an absolutely, totally, misguided attempt by HR or more likely by one specific person in HR to be "helpful". Go to HR and complain. Tell them YOU DO NOT WANT to be signed up for anything and to become a spam magnet. And ask them WHAT ARE THEY THINKING. – gnasher729 Oct 31 '16 at 14:08
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    Well, I wouldn't want to be that aggressive (although I fantasise about opening a Facebook account in their personal name, so they get an idea of what privacy and identity theft means). All I want is for them to understand that it's not right to do this, as every person should have control over what he/she signs up for and not. – Hamilton Oct 31 '16 at 14:15
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    @hamilton - so how do you propose that they should find out that "it's not right to do this" unless you tell them? Maybe the specific wording doesn't work for you, but unless you speak up nothing will change. – AndreiROM Oct 31 '16 at 14:18
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Since you work at a multi-national corporation and this "benefits program" is completely sanctioned by the director of HR and the CEO, you are not likely going to be able to change the existing process much. However, the process may already be in place, but you are just unaware.

Contact your HR through whatever means your company offers (personal representative, phone hotline, email listserv, etc). Just start by asking if there's any way to have them stop signing you up for websites. Maybe they already have a list somewhere they can add you to, or maybe they've already registered you for everything so you shouldn't get any new emails. And maybe they'll tell you that it's part of the standard benefits package and there's nothing you can do but not activate the accounts. In that case you're out of luck, unless you want to get a lawyer involved.

The only way HR will stop this practice is if someone threatens a lawsuit and/or proves that what they are doing is illegal. This could take a lot of time, effort, and money, so it's up to you how far down this path you want to go.

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  • Thanks for the answer. Yes, a blacklist might be something they have (and this is the first time in my life I'd be happy to be on a blacklist). As for stopping the process altogether, you're right: I'd be extremely hard to do that. I figured that when talking to HR about unrelated matters in the past. As for the accounts: I'm desperately trying to get the websites to simply delete my accounts, but their argument is that they can't do it since their created by my employer. Sounds skewed. – Hamilton Oct 31 '16 at 14:38
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In France, we would say the work council is over zealous.

Seems like employees perks are directly manged by the HR in your country, but the result is the same : they have a budget, and they spend it on your name without your authorization.

As the HR is a direct arm for the uper management, and not elected as our work council, you have to be more subtle than simply protesting(I won't vote for you is an efficient lever - unfortunately you don't have it). You have to convince them it is in their best interest to keep from opening those accounts. Like "it gives our firm a bad image", "it's sad to waste money on products I'm not going to use", etc.....

Don't speak about your own interest, or only as a secondary point. It's not their problem. Their problem is to protect the firm from the employees. Tell them it's not good for the firm.

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  • The OP hasn't indicated whether these sites need to be paid for or not. They could all be free. – David K Oct 31 '16 at 14:10
  • Thanks for the answer. Interesting how things are run in France! As for the money: No money is spent by HR or my employer. These voucher sites are paid for by data mining companies. And that's where the issue lays: You pay for a 10% discount with your privacy (and a ton of ads in your inbox). Arguing with a bad image is a good idea. And it'd work if the company would be smaller. But even HR are pretty much detached. My employer is a global IT company, with branches in all continents (except Africa and Antarctica). So nobody is going to take anything serious unless it affects them personally. – Hamilton Oct 31 '16 at 14:12
  • @DavidK No these sites are "free". But as stated above: You pay otherwise. – Hamilton Oct 31 '16 at 14:12
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    @Hamilton "and a ton of ads in your inbox" Indeed with will take time to deal with. Money might not be spend, but it does cost them money. – Jeroen Oct 31 '16 at 14:27

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