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Charging an individual for complying with elaborate Privacy Act requests

When employment relationships start to go pear shaped, employers are often faced with very generalised Privacy Act requests, which can be difficult and time consuming to comply with.  We refer to such requests as a ‘fishing expedition’, whereby an individual makes a formal information privacy request for all information about themselves pursuant to Principle 6 […]

Privacy Case: Man seeks information from application process

The Privacy Act gives people the right to see personal information that agencies hold about them. While this might appear straightforward, there are a number of circumstances where people and agencies disagree about what personal information the agency needs to disclose and what it can withhold. This was exemplified in a recent complaint to the […]

Privacy Case: Man objects to pre-employment urine test process

The process of collecting health information can affect both privacy and personal dignity. This is what spurred a man to complain to our office after he was asked for a urine test by his prospective employer. The man had applied for a job that required employees to pass a drug test. The company outsourced its […]

Privacy case note – Deletion of personal information in employment dispute

Background An employer refused to hand over certain information to an employee who contested a job performance evaluation. The woman was investigated by her employer about her job performance. The performance concerns included the woman having failed a certified training programme several times. After the investigation, the woman was demoted in her job. She said […]

The Privacy Commission to get tougher on privacy breaches

In a recent decision the Human Rights Review Tribunal ordered telecommunications company, Orcon, to pay $25,000 in damages. This case sends a strong reminder to agencies to check the accuracy of personal information before using it. The Applicant, Mr Taylor, had a dispute with Orcon over a bill. Before the dispute was resolved, Orcon sent […]

Taking a privacy case to the Human Rights Review Tribunal

The Privacy Commissioner’s office have produced a guidance note explaining what types of cases the Human Rights Review Tribunal (HRRT) can hear under the Privacy Act.  Before you can take a case to the HRRT, the Privacy Commissioner’s office must have investigated the aspects of your complaint that you want the Tribunal to consider.  Click here […]

$98k compensation for breach of privacy – all over a cake!

The Human Rights Review Tribunal has found Credit Union Baywide, trading as NZCU Baywide, interfered with the privacy of a former employee by distributing a Facebook screenshot to Hawke’s Bay employment agencies with a warning against employing her. In Hammond v Credit Union Baywide [2015] NZHRRT 6 (2 March 2015), the tribunal awarded $98,000 compensation […]

Recent privacy complaint upheld

20 February 2015 The Privacy Act 1993 is based around 12 “information privacy principles”.  The privacy principles impact on an employment relationship from recruitment through to termination and employers must bear them in mind. The privacy principles cover the collection, storage, use, retention, access to and disclosure of personal information by an agency.  Personal information […]

Legal Considerations with Recruitment

Recruiting new employees There are a number of legal requirements that have to be taken into account when undertaking recruitment. Of particular importance is the need to avoid acting in a discriminatory fashion and to ensure personal information is kept private. It is important to review all job specifications, advertisements and application forms to ensure […]

Right to view competing CVs given to job applicant

In an interesting Human Rights Review Tribunal case (Waters v Alpine Energy Ltd [2014] NZHRRT 8), a prospective employer was recently ordered to disclose confidential information to an unsuccessful candidate for two positions. The information required to be disclosed included information about the successful candidates and information from referees – despite the usual expectation of […]

Recruitment agency fails to remove all personal information from online profile

Man finds edited agency profile still available in Google On 16 September 2013, the Privacy Commission issued the following Case Note: A man was previously a client of a recruitment agency. One of the agency’s services was to provide an online profile for the man.  The profile contained extensive information about him, including his name, […]

Employer uses monitoring software to collect personal information

This case acts as a reminder for employers to be aware of the Privacy Act when conducting employment investigations. As part of an employment investigation, an employer collected personal information from a man’s work computer. The information collected included emails sent to and from the work computer, as well as key stroke logs for the […]

Man objects to pre-employment screening

A man applied for a job in a government department. As part of the application process the department used a company which specialised in pre-employment screening of potential employees. The man was unsuccessful in his application, and made a request under principle 6 of the Privacy Act for the personal information held by the government […]

Collection of credit information about job applicant by potential employer

A woman told the Privacy Commission that she had applied for a job as a part-time retail assistant with a large retail chain employer.  The job application had been completed online on the store’s website. As part of the process she was required to consent to the store carrying out a credit check on her. […]

Credit check of employee breached privacy

The Privacy Commissioner said it was not necessary, in terms of Principle 1 of the Privacy Act, for a credit check to be carried out on a woman who applied for a job as a part-time retail assistant with a large retail chain employer. The job application had been completed online on the store’s website. […]