A private sector employer’s handling of employee records in relation to current and former employment relationships is currently exempt from the privacy principles provided the employer’s practice relates to a current or former employment relationship and the records relate to the individual.
The exemption will not apply if, for example records are held in respect of an unsuccessful applicant for a position or if the employer seeks to use personal information for a purpose outside of the employment relation, such as the sale of the information to a marketing company.
One of the 116 proposals in the Privacy Act Review Report released on 16 February 2023 deals with employee records. It is proposed that the existing exemption be maintained however the exemption will be modified to allow more transparency to employees in respect of the employers information handling process. In addition, there will be better protections against the mishandling of employee personal information and the destruction of the personal information when no longer required.
To understand your obligations in respect of employees personal information and prepare for likely changes in the law contact Peter Jackson.