Organic Lost Personal Employee Info

By Matt Van Hoven 

Update: A conversation with Organic’s PR flack rep has cleared things up somewhat. It seems the agency used to employ a benefits administrator called Colt Express. Separate of this situation, CE is going out of business, and during that process some computers were stolen that contained private information of current and former employees and their dependents.

A new company had been hired by Organic to take over benefits, prior to the robbery at CE. The new benefits administrator, Omnicom, will provide services from here on out. I’m told that Organic employees have been told to get a credit check, and should they find any abnormalities, Organic will cover the cost of protective services via Kroll Security Services.

Organic rep Amanda Van Nuys assures me the company was the “victim” and that all necessary measures are being taken to protect current and past employees, and their families. See the e-mail that miffed our spy, after the jump.

Original Story: A spy informed me today that Organic, which has offices in New York, Toronto, Detroit and San Francisco, is in a bit of a situation after having lost personal semployee information (and, we’re told, that of their employees’ family members).

We hate to get this kind of info, since it usually means a lot of trouble for everyone who has to deal with it. But as we’ve learned in the past, something as simple as a stolen laptop can lead to huge problems for employers and employees alike.

Our spy didn’t indicate if the misstep was company-wide or limited to a single satellite shop (update: company-wide). A call to the agency (the press contact is SF based, btw) was not returned by mid-afternoon. But seriously, how’d they lose it, what’s going to happen now, and how the hell did someone not get back to me?

Here’s what we do know, courtesy of our spy:

“Organic lost personal information for past and current employees and families. (They sent out) a “not our fault, you’re f*****” letter to everyone…enrolled in a year of some identity reclaiming service and mentioned options that we could pay for out of our own pocket. Took no responsibility at all, nor apologized.”

Usually this kind of thing happens when a laptop is stolen, which really wouldn’t be Organic’s fault. But we have no indication of what actually lead to this scenario. Hopefully one of you, or the nice flack I left multiple messages with, will get back to me.

Many of you will have received the letter from Kroll Inc. this weekend explaining the unfortunate issue with Colt Express.

Colt was our benefits administrator for many years. We stopped using them in January when we switched to Omnicom benefits. In late May, they experienced a data breach; some items were stolen which housed confidential information. Data containing client information was compromised, potentially including that of Organic’s current and former employees and their dependents.

Due to the time lapse between when we received the information from Colt and then finalized our engagement with Kroll (the leader in fraud solutions, who will provide theft restoration services for folks should they need it, at Organic’s expense), the letter is making its way to everyone’s home now. Kroll offers other theft protection services for anyone interested. Because Colt is in the process of closing their business (independent of this issue), we hired Kroll to help alleviate any concerns that may arise as a result of this potential data breach.

As noted in the letter sent to everyone’s home, folks who are concerned may contact them immediately for assistance. People can also call the three major reporting agencies and place an alert on their credit files.

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me, Ellen Nearman or Yehji Yi.

Tracy Coté
Executive Director, Talent