Observe Privacy Issues with Internal Complaints
A RECENT Victorian case is an important reminder to organisations to observe their privacy obligations when dealing with internal complaints.
The complainant was an employee of an agency who made a bullying complaint against co-workers. The complainant documentation consisted of a letter outlining the outcomes the employee sought, and a list of all the bullying incidents alleged to have occurred.
The documentation was then sent, with the complainant's consent, to the alleged bullies for their response.
Unfortunately, the complainant later withdrew her consent as she was concerned that the information contained in the complaint documented her private reactions to certain incidents. However, by then, it was too late as the document had already been disclosed.
As a result the complainant alleged that the disclosure of the complaint documentation had breached her privacy under the relevant Privacy Act. The complainant also argued that the alleged bullies should only have had access to the information that was relevant to each individual rather than the entire document containing all alleged incidents. …