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The Fifth Wave of Y2K

Claims by ex-employees.

September 1, 1999
Related Topics: Technology and the Law, Technology
The fifth wave will be claims by retired and former employees for pensions, benefits and ERISA-type claims, where the defense will be hindered by the same inability to access data. It has never been more necessary to protect the integrity of the company's data.

Much of the data upon which HR depends is stored on computer systems. Some data is stored with vendors; other data is stored internally. While obtaining statements of Y2K compliance does no harm, such statements are hardly reliable guarantees of performance.

Again, simple contingency planning is the key. Preparation and retention of hard copy of all data and information is critical. Have the data sorted by every possible field. Update, with paper, every personnel file. At the worst, a mountain of paper is available for recycling in January 2000. At best, critical data is available for use if all else is lost. The obligation to maintain records and data is the foundation of most regulation. Avoid needless exposure to a myriad of fines and penalties with the creation of old-fashioned paper records.

The myth (and the reality) of the Y2K issue is widely reported in the popular press. Many information sources are uninformed. Some media outlets seem eager to latch onto the "newsworthy" nature of any disaster, hint of imposing weather, or lurid crime. The specter of "The End of the World as We Know It" is irresistible to some reporters. Therefore, it's only natural that many current and former employees should be concerned about the company's ability to survive the onset of the millennium.

While it would be wrong to blithely inform employees that all is well, a periodic update of the company's efforts to operate seamlessly on January 2 would be appropriate and highly desirable. Employees should be made to feel secure in the company's continued survival and success. No news is not, at least in this context, good news.

The information contained in this article is intended to provide useful information on the topic covered, but should not be construed as legal advice or a legal opinion.

Recent Articles by Lee Stephen MacPhee, Esq.

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