Recently I was assisting a client with an employment law matter, and it was alleged that as an employee he had breached the Privacy Act 1988 (Cth). It is important for employers to remember that employees do not breach the Privacy Act, but rather it is employers who breach the Privacy Act because it is employers who have power and control over information and its transmission. It cannot be transmitted to another third party without the consent of the contracting party.
What employers can do to ensure that they are protected is have an accurately and adequately drafted confidentiality clause and Privacy clause that:
(a) ensures that confidential information is protected and employees cannot disseminate it, and
(b) provides for a penalty or right of action against the employee in the event of such a disclosure. The penalty may be termination.
By having this clearly set out in the employment agreement, an employer can ensure that their position is protected and employees know their obligations when dealing with confidential information.
Adam Foster, Lawyer.