The Times' Dec. 20 article on employer-employee privacy issues, "Firms Walk Tightrope on Privacy Issues," was very well written. However, discussion of a major privacy issue was omitted: the use of Social Security numbers as employee identification numbers.
Social Security numbers are supposed to be used only for reporting income to the appropriate tax authorities. However, many companies use these numbers as identification numbers for fringe benefits, expense reports, etc. Your doctor really does not have the right to your Social Security number, but many employers' health insurance plans put that number on every reimbursement check. To meet the reporting needs of my employer, the outside travel agency I am directed to use for business trips asks for my Social Security number.