Although it may seem obvious that a bookkeeper should not be disclosing any business or corporate records in their care, California has had to enact a law to prohibit these types of disclosures.
Civil Code section 1799.1 prohibits bookkeepers from disclosing any records about your business without your consent.
The prohibition also includes any disclosure of composite information.
The law is broad and not restricted to private data, confidential information, or trade secrets.
No record of any time can be disclosed.
If there is a disclosure you can sue for damages. A minimum of $500 can be recovered for any disclosure, plus attorney fees. This is help as it means the bookkeeper or accountant will have to reimburse you for your legal expenses.
Most likely, you and possibly others have additional claims for damages, such as invasion of privacy or disclosure of trade secrets.
The only exceptions when disclosure is allowed are obvious:
- If you consent, and your consent has to be writing.
- Pursuant to legal process, including a subpoena, court order, or warrant.
- As required to tax agencies such as the IRS or FTB.
Contact Us for More Information
If you have been victimized by the disclosure of company records entrusted to a bookkeeper, accountant or CPA, contact us immediately so that action can be taken to minimize the harm, prevent further disclosure, and to take any appropriate legal action to protect your business and recover damages.
If the disclosure involves information about others you could face liability if you do not take immediate action relating to the disclosure.
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Business, Law and Tax
PO Box 725
Rancho Cordova, California 95741
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