Best practice is to put HR personnel in a private office but there is no law that specifically requires it. Some of the discussions involving HR people include disciplinary actions, salary negotiations, job interviews and performance evaluations. It is very poor practice to let others overhear these discussions but it does not violate any law.
If discussions involve medical information (HIPAA or ADA) no one should be able to overhear the information. To avoid problems with confidential information a private office should be available for use by the HR person when needed.
HR departments maintain files about employees. Some of these files must be kept secure. In most companies this means a locked file cabinet in a private and lockable office. It is legal to keep these file in a locked cabinet in a common area if the security can be assured.
Hope that helps you out. =)
A note about HR laws:
Laws concerning employee treatment, benefits, hiring and firingâ€¦etc are multi-level. What this means is that there are Federal laws, state laws and sometimes local regulations that have jurisdiction over an employee. The information presented here should not be considered legal advice. Ultimately, employers with serious legal questions should consult local attorneys with expertise in worker relations.
The questions and answers presented here are based on research and data from internet sources and should not be considered the final word.