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Human rights complaint investigation prompts release of employee information

An employee of the Canada Post Corporation (CPC) complained that the CPC had told another organization that she had taken disability leave from her job.

Our Office learned that the CPC employee had initiated a human rights complaint against her employer on the issue of duty to accommodate based on a medical disability. During the CPC’s investigation into the circumstances that led to the human rights complaint, a concern emerged as to whether the employee had held another job while on disability leave from the CPC.

In accordance with the basic principles of procedural fairness in the conduct of any investigation, an investigator is obligated to explain the nature and scope of the matter under investigation in order to elicit accurate and relevant information.

In order to check the facts, the CPC contacted the other organization to inquire about the individual’s employment. The CPC informed the organization that it was investigating a human rights complaint filed against it based on a medical disability and the type of information it was seeking. Before releasing any of the complainant’s information to the CPC, the other organization requested her consent and referred to her having taken disability leave. However, we determined that this statement was an assumption on the organization’s part as there was no evidence that anything was said by the CPC about the complainant being on disability leave.

As this individual’s information, which the CPC gave to the organization, was necessary and directly related to the conduct of the human rights investigation, our Office concluded that the complainant’s privacy rights were not affected and this matter was not well-founded.

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