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Individual challenges employer's refusal to grant sick leave

PIPEDA Case Summary #2003-235

[Principle 4.3 of Schedule 1]


An individual complained that his employer, a transportation services corporation, required that a medical diagnosis be included in the doctor's certificate for sick leave. However, an investigation showed that the employer had refused to grant leave after checking with the hospital where the individual had undergone the medical exams.

Summary of Investigation

After being examined at a hospital, the individual submitted a sick leave request to his employer. He gave the medical certificate to his supervisor, who informed him a few days later that the leave request had been turned down since the length of time of the request exceeded the length of time for the medical exam.

The investigation showed that the employer's occupational health and safety advisor had called the hospital where the medical exam was done, without authorization from the individual. She asked for information about the exam that was done.


Issued November 7, 2003

Jurisdiction: Since January 1, 2001, the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (the Act) applies to any federal work, undertaking, or business. The Assistant Privacy Commissioner had jurisdiction in this case because the company in question is a federal work, undertaking, or business as defined in the Act.

Application: Principle 4.3 of Schedule 1 states that the knowledge and consent of the individual are required for the collection, use, or disclosure of his or her personal information, except where inappropriate.

The Assistant Commissioner determined that the fact that the employer's occupational health and safety advisor contacted the hospital to ask for information about the employee's medical exam is contrary to Principle 4.3 of Schedule 1 of the Act.

The Assistant Commissioner concluded that the complaint was well-founded.

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