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Guidelines Disclosure of Employee Personal Information to the Employee that the Personal Information is about

Guidelines – Disclosure of Employee Personal Information to the Employee that the Personal Information is about

The Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy (FOIP) Act, R.S.A. 2000, c. F-25 defines personal information as: recorded information about an identifiable individual, including but not limited to:

  • the individual's name, home or business address, or home or business telephone number
  • the individual's race, national or ethnic origin, color, or religious or political beliefs or associations
  • the individual's age, sex, marital status or family status
  • an identifying number, symbol or other particular assigned to the individual
  • the individual's fingerprints, other biometric information, blood type or inheritable characteristics
  • information about the individual's health and health care history, including information about a physical or mental disability
  • information about the individual's educational, financial, employment or criminal history, including criminal records where a pardon has been given
  • anyone else's opinion about the individual
  • the individual's personal views or opinions, except if they are about someone else.

The FOIP Act provides employees with a right to access personal information about themselves held by Athabasca University (AU). This right is limited by specific exceptions.

The following guidelines are to assist AU employees to make appropriate decisions respecting the disclosure of personal information.

You may routinely disclose the following records to an employee:

  • their official employee record (paper and electronic) that is deemed to be accessible to them
  • information supplied by the employee
  • information copied to the employee
  • performance evaluations written by the supervisor
  • as outlined in the collective agreement(s).

NOTE: The employee has the right to access his or her own employee record housed in Human Resources. Access will be made during normal office hours, and upon advance request in writing. When employees inspect their original records, examination will be permitted only under conditions that will prevent alteration or mutilation.

AU may withhold information from the employee under the following circumstances:

  • if the disclosure of the information could reasonably be expected to threaten anyone else's safety or mental or physical health or interfere with public safety
  • when, in the opinion of a qualified professional, disclosure of the information could reasonably be expected to result in immediate and grave harm to the employee's health and safety
  • when, the information reveals the identity of an individual who has provided information to AU in confidence about a threat to an individual's safety or mental or physical health
  • when the information consists of a confidential evaluation compiled for the purpose of determining the employee's suitability, eligibility or qualifications for employment, awarding of contracts or other benefits
  • when the information consists of advice or recommendations relating to the performance or conduct of the employee
  • when the disclosure could reasonably harm a law enforcement matter or harm the effectiveness of investigative techniques and procedures.

The following categories of information should not be routinely released:

  • letter of reference supplied in confidence
  • evaluative comments provided by anyone other than the supervisor in a formal evaluation process
  • documents relating to a grievance or appeal process
  • documents relating to legal or administrative investigations
  • letters of complaints.

If an employee record contains information that cannot be routinely disclosed, inform the employee that they may make a request under the FOIP Act for access.

If you are unsure whether specific documents should be disclosed, contact the FOIP/Policy Coordinator.

Office of the University Secretariat, February 2006

Updated May 30 2014 by Office of the University Secretariat

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