Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Investigator: Employer did not violate PIPA by investigating whether staffer was looking for another job

An interesting investigation report from the Information and Privacy Commissioner of Alberta, in which the investigator found that an employer did not violate PIPA by seeking information about whether a current employee had sought employment with another company:

April 10, 2007

EPCOR Utilities Inc. found in compliance with Personal Information Protection Act

The Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner has found that EPCOR Utilities Inc. (EPCOR) complied with the Personal Information Protection Act (PIPA) when it collected, used and disclosed personal employee information without consent. EPCOR’s collection, use and disclosure of the employee’s personal information was also found to be reasonable for purposes of an investigation.

The complainant, an EPCOR employee at the time, took a leave of absence from EPCOR. Shortly thereafter, EPCOR received unsolicited information suggesting the complainant was about to begin work for another company. EPCOR contacted the other company to verify the complainant’s alleged employment there. The complainant complained that EPCOR collected, used and disclosed his personal information without consent.

The Investigator found that EPCOR had collected, used and disclosed the complainant’s personal information to investigate a possible contravention of the complainant’s employment agreement. As such, consent was not required.

Further, the Investigator found that the information qualified as personal employee information under PIPA: the information was reasonably required to manage the complainant’s employment relationship with EPCOR, and consisted only of information related to that employment relationship. The complainant was notified at the time of hire that his personal information could be collected, used or disclosed for investigation purposes. As such, EPCOR did not require consent to collect, use and disclose the complainant’s personal employee information in these circumstances.

For more information about investigation report P2007-IR-004, please visit our website at: http://www.oipc.ab.ca/

No comments: