Tuesday, October 23, 2007 - Almanac Vol. 54, No. 9
Handling Documents and Data of Faculty and Staff Who Have Left Penn
What is the right thing to do with documents and data of faculty or staff members when they leave Penn? In most cases, one can involve the individual in the decisions before they leave. They will often on their own, or at the request of their supervisor, help map out what is appropriate to share with colleagues, to securely delete, or for more personal items, what they wish to take with them.
In some cases the handling of this issue is more difficult. Consider a staff member who is terminated for cause and asked to leave immediately. Consider also an individual who is unexpectedly taken seriously ill. And, how does one handle the situation of a faculty or staff member who has passed away?
Guidance has recently been written to help Schools, Centers and Departments address these types of more difficult scenarios, with several recommended components for handling them, for example:
- It is important to have a person who coordinates decisions and actions regarding the documents and data.
- Immediate consideration should be given to the individual’s activities, to help identify potential data locations for further review. A high-level inventory of the relevant data and documents should then be developed.
- It is also important to identify the types of interests that may exist in the data, for example:
- Business continuity
- Academic collaboration
- Potential litigation
- Intellectual property
- Institutional history
- Personal data
In the case of deceased individuals, these issues should be handled with great sensitivity, particularly to the difficulties faced by loved ones.
For information, including useful links, visit the Penn Privacy website, www.upenn.edu/privacy. If you have questions, contact the Privacy Office at firstname.lastname@example.org.