Oops. The New Zealand Privacy Commissioner’s Office has posted a summary of a case it investigated. The gist of the situation is that a woman made a complaint about her employer to a government agency and asked that they keep her name confidential. But when the government investigator went to the workplace, the investigator showed the employer his notes on the case, with the woman’s name unredacted.
The woman said the disclosure of her name and the nature of her complaints led to the complete breakdown of the employment relationship. She said she was abused and humiliated by her employer.
The woman complained to us that the agency had disclosed her personal information (her name) to her employer.
After investigation, the agency was found to have violated Principle 11 of the Privacy Act.
The agency met with the woman and apologised. The agency said the inspector made a mistake when he showed the employer his notes, and explained the steps it had taken to ensure the situation did not occur again. The agency acknowledged it had breached principle 11.
The agency offered to pay the woman’s legal fees and some compensation in recognition of the fact that she lost her job.
The woman accepted the offer and we closed the file.