|Issue No 85||23 February 2001|
Employment Records Must Be Protected
The Carr Government will be pushed to bring employment records under the coverage of privacy laws amidst fears they are being traded in business transactions.
NSW Labor Council secretary Michael Costa says there are no legal protections to records on workers' medical history and trade union activity being passed on to third parties.
"I am particularly concerned that this sort of information is being passed around during the due diligence process when companies change hands," Costa says.
"While medical records are totally private when in the hands of a doctor, there is no protection when a medical certificate makes it way into the hands of an employer."
"Indeed, as Privacy Commissioner Chris Puplick pointed out last week, individuals have fewer rights as employees than in any other aspect of their lives."
The issue came to light after the sacking and subsequent reinstatement of 20 workers from Sydney's Wentworth Hotel. Of the 20 sacked, a disproportionate number were active union members, raising suspicions about what information was passed on to the new owners.
"While we have no proof the records were passed during this sale, the workers there are concerned that their files may have been accessed during the transaction of business," Costa says.
"Rather than have this atmosphere of fear and distrust, we call on the Carr Government to act decisively to ensure that workers are secure knowing their personal records will not be misused."
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