A government agency has been investigated by the Privacy Commissioner after an employee complained to the agency about the work practices of her employer.

The employee notified the agency that she wished for her name to remain confidential while they were investigating her complaint. The employee was horrified to learn that during the inspection of her workplace, her identity had been accidentally disclosed to her employer. As a result, the employee lost her job.

The Privacy Commissioner held that the agency had breached the Privacy Act which prohibits agencies from disclosing personal information unless certain exceptions apply.

The Privacy Commissioner noted the importance of anonymity and stated that without it people would be discouraged from coming forward with concerns about their employment.

The agency apologised to the employee and amended its practices so that the situation would not occur again. The agency also paid the employee’s legal fees and some compensation, of an undisclosed amount.


Alan Knowsley

Employment Lawyer Wellington