Atlantic Employers’ Counsel – Summer 2014
Summer is halfway over, but we know you will want to take this edition along with you while you enjoy more summer weather and time out of the office.
Employers are struggling to keep ahead of the curve with the recent rise of legislated and expanded common law rights to privacy. This edition focuses on understanding the privacy legal landscape in Atlantic Canada, discusses some very recent privacy and disciplinary decisions employers should be aware of, provides informative tips for ensuring that your workplace is as privacy proof as possible and points out the hazards of social media when it comes to workplace privacy.
With increasing digitalization and the potential harm resulting from violations of an individual’s privacy or unauthorized disclosure of one’s personal information, employers must remain diligent in efforts to collect, retain and disclose personal information and promote a culture of respect regarding the privacy of their employees.
Advances in technology have brought privacy issues to the forefront of Canadian society, and the workplace is no exception. Employers need to consider privacy and confidentiality for not only their customers, but also their employees.
Confidentiality at work has become increasingly important and the employee’s responsibility to keep private and confidential information is just that, private and confidential. Questions from employers about what must go into this type of policy have become routine, mainly due to the global nature of communications today and how easily information can be circulated and accessed.
In 2012 the Ontario Court of Appeal first established the tort of intrusion upon seclusion to Canadian law in . Relying on Jones v Tsige Apart from the obvious impact of this case on those who are the victims of a privacy breach, the case has raised interesting questions in the field of labour and employment law. Namely, it places strong pressure on an employer to ensure prompt and sufficient discipline against employees who breach privacy rules in an effort to mitigate potential tort claims.
One of the first social media confidentiality cases arose out of a health care employment relationship. In CAW-Canada, Local 127 (J.C.) v. Chatham-Kent (Municipality),  OLAA No. 135 (QL), the grievor was a personal caregiver with eight years service and some history of discipline. She was discharged after making a number of blog entries and posting photos.
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