Exposing violence at work (Guest commentary)

A look at the implications of privacy legislation when it comes to disclosing information about violent individuals
By Brian Kreissl and Andrew Treash
|Canadian HR Reporter|Last Updated: 04/20/2010

Health and safety legislation in some provinces requires employers to disclose information about potentially violent individuals whom employees may encounter at work. In some jurisdictions, this applies only to information about non-workers while, in others, it applies both to co-workers and non-workers.

There has been concern privacy legislation might prohibit the disclosure of this information unless an employer has an individual’s consent. Confusing the situation is the fact all jurisdictions have privacy legislation but in some circumstances it applies to employment relationships and in others it does not.

It all depends on whether an employer is provincially or federally regulated, what province an employer is operating in and whether an employer is in the public or private sector. For federally regulated employers, the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA) covers both employee and non-employee (commercial) information.