Australian Insider Privacy Breach, 04 March 2021
Australian Fair Work Commission upholds dismissal of ANZ banker who accessed private info about a colleague and celebrity
ANZ did not accept the employee’s explanation and terminated her employment immediately
Source: Checking accounts: FWC upholds dismissal of ANZ banker who accessed private info about a colleague and celebrity | SmartCompany
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The importance of employers having policies in place is demonstrated in a recent case, where the Fair Work Commission (FWC) upheld an employee’s dismissal after finding that she had contravened policies which were in place to protect customers’ confidential information.
The employee was a part-time personal banker who had been employed by ANZ. Following an investigation, ANZ found the employee had engaged in unacceptable conduct by using its software system on a number of occasions to search and access the profiles of customers without approval or a legitimate purpose.
Amongst those customer profiles accessed by the employee were accounts held by her brother, a colleague and a celebrity.
The FWC agreed with ANZ and found that the employee’s explanations were “completely without substance” and on the balance of probabilities, the misconduct alleged was indeed undertaken by the employee.
This case serves as a reminder for employers to ensure that they have policies in place regarding the access and use of confidential information. Where it involves personal information, these policies should reflect the Australian Privacy Principles in relation to access, use and non-disclosure of personal information.
Employers must also ensure that their policies are regularly communicated to employees, as this knowledge can be relied upon in the event there is a breach of policy