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PHIPA fines in the workplace

This spring the largest penalty to date was issued under Ontario’s Personal Health Information Protection Act (PHIPA). A social work student was convicted of accessing personal health information without authorization, and ordered pay a $20,000 fine and a $5,000 victim fine surcharge.

 

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Three popular articles this week on HRinfodesk

The three popular articles this week on HRinfodesk deal with: a warning from the Privacy Commissioner not to reuse passwords, a company that contravened privacy law by releasing the results of an employee’s drug test and Alberta’s investigation of serious workplace health and safety incidents.

 

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Privacy Commissioner provides some tips for businesses regarding passwords

The Privacy Commissioner Canada has recently released some tips for mitigating risk to businesses involving passwords. One main problem is that individuals use the same password for multiple accounts – this puts them at a much higher risk of experiencing a breach.

 

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HR and IT: An uneasy alliance

HR is being called on to focus primarily on strategic goals and to add increasing value to organizations. The other field that has become an integral part of business is technology. It is therefore not surprising that in HRs effort to become increasingly relevant, IT is being leveraged in the execution of the HR function in an increasing number of ways. This e–HR revolution has taken many forms, from applicant tracking systems, to machine learning in recruitment and selection to software driven onboarding and employee HR support. The consequence of this is that more and more HR activities are being executed electronically—by a computer instead of by a person.

 

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Three popular articles this week on HRinfodesk

Three popular articles this week on HRinfodesk deal with major changes to PIPEDA; family status test in Alberta; and termination due to a mental disability.

 

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Privacy class action to proceed

Canada will see its first class action lawsuit based on the new tort of invading another’s privacy, after a Bank of Nova Scotia employee leaked customers’ personal information to his girlfriend for personal gain. At least 138 customers were subsequently defrauded. Ontario’s Superior Court accepted that the employer was vicariously liable for the employee’s actions […]

 

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Can employers publicize terminations via social media? Dallas’ police chief says yes

In the name of transparency and building public confidence in the local police force, Dallas police chief David O. Brown has begun posting announcements of staff terminations and demotions on the social networking services Twitter and Facebook. Chief Brown is surely blazing a trail with the controversial practice, but it remains to be seen whether others will follow—or if it’s even legal…

 

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BYOD: is personal information visible over corporate networks?

Employers are increasingly drafting and implementing bring-your-own-device (BYOD) policies for their employees. And they should be, since employees are increasingly using their personal digital devices—phones, tablets, laptops—to perform work, both in and out of the workplace. But employees may have trouble trusting their employers to stay out of their personal information…

 

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Personal information online: new tools, old responsibilities

Sometimes, technology creates new ways to exploit information faster than the law and business can keep up. The Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada is trying to make sure that doesn’t happen in the case of behavioural advertising. Last year, the Privacy Commissioner conducted consultations on the new ways that organizations are collecting and using customers’ personal information, and prepared its Report on the 2010 Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada’s Consultations on Online Tracking, Profiling and Targeting, and Cloud Computing.

 

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Facebook, privacy and the workplace

You might have heard about the case in which two car dealership workers were fired for cause after they wrote offensive and harassing messages on Facebook about their employer and managers.

 

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Employees with disabilities: disclosure v. privacy

One of the most difficult decisions employees or applicants have to make is to decide whether to inform their employer of their non-obvious disabilities. Why?

 

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Employers may not be able to conduct Facebook checks on prospective employees

I just read an interesting article saying that Germany may be the first to pass a law making it illegal for prospective employers to spy on applicants’ private postings on Facebook. Do you think this type of law could ever be passed in Canada?

 

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Customer privacy policies and employee handling of customer personal information

A weekend Toronto Star article reported that employees at the Canada Revenue Agency are improperly reviewing the private financial affairs of taxpayers. Some are using agency computers to give favoured treatment to colleagues, friends, family—and themselves…

 

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Privacy risk management – by design

I’ve discussed the Privacy by Design principle before, in the Inside Internal Control newsletter. In case you don’t know, PbD is an approach developed by Dr. Ann Cavoukian, the Privacy Commissioner of Ontario, which proactively embeds privacy protection by default in the design of an organization’s practices and products.

 

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The new age of workplace gossip – TMI!

I’ve discussed workplace gossip here before, and what bosses can do to prevent it or at least reduce the potential harm, but there are a couple of hyper-modern developments that I didn’t get into: reality television and the Internet. These two things have created a culture of “sharing”, for lack of a better word, that encourages people at play or work to divulge the most mundane and private details of their lives to others—the kind of information that one previously might only have shared with family or best friends.

 

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