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Privacy in Workplace Investigations

Date: 31/01/2020

The Office of the Privacy Commissioner has released advice on how employers should manage requests for information from employees who are complainants in bullying investigations. The overarching principle is that an employee is entitled to information that relates to them. The Privacy Commission has emphasised that there are limited instances available to withhold information relating to an individual when it is requested, and employers need to familiarise themselves with both the Privacy Act obligations, as well as the terms of reference for their investigation when considering a request. The Privacy Commissioner’s advice can be found here:  https://www.privacy.org.nz/blog/handling-workplace-bullying-complaints/
 
Employers should be mindful of their privacy obligations prior to commencing an investigation into bullying complaints, and consider how they will address any requests for information by those who may become involved. If an employer addresses what information will be provided and when from the outset in the terms of reference of an investigation, it can save problems around disclosure and information requests later down the track.
 
If you require any assistance with workplace investigations or requests for information under the Privacy Act, contact the team at Dundas Street Employment Lawyers.