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Magazine Rates Firms on Workplace Privacy

IBM, Baxter and HP are among those lauded in Wired survey. Wal-Mart, Lilly are faulted.

September 09, 2003|From Reuters

IBM Corp. is least likely to snoop on its employees, whereas drug maker Eli Lilly & Co. is the most aggressive "Big Brother" boss, a magazine reports.

The technology magazine Wired surveyed watchdog organizations such as the American Civil Liberties Union and the Privacy Foundation to determine which large publicly traded companies were the best and worst for workplace privacy.

IBM took top honors for its efforts to scrub Social Security numbers from health-care records. Lilly was downgraded for its invasive background checks of workers after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. Some of those checks led to dismissals.

Hewlett-Packard Co. and Baxter Healthcare Corp. won plaudits for their vigilant protection of internal employee records. Ford Motor Co. and Sears, Roebuck & Co. were praised for voluntarily signing on with stringent data-protection laws in Europe and California.

Wal-Mart Stores Inc. and Hilton Hotels Corp. were criticized for secretly taping employees. Burlington Northern Santa Fe Corp. was condemned for its 2001 attempt to fight workers' compensation claims with genetic testing.

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