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All employers in British Columbia must follow privacy law

Employees in British Columbia who are concerned about how their employers handle their personal information might have questions about their legal rights. According to privacy laws, employers may not share personal information with other employees. The only exception is when such information is essential for others in carrying out their jobs.

When an employer collects an employee's personal information, that information is protected, and access or disclosure rights are limited under the law. The size of the organization or company and its structure will play a role in allowing access to the information of employees. For example, suppose the employee's manager was not involved in the hiring process. In that case, that individual might not have any need for access to a worker's health information, Social Insurance Number and other personal information.

Dealing with privacy concerns can be daunting. However, organizations can designate a privacy officer who should receive and assess claims and respond to them. If a particular matter cannot be resolved in that way, it might be necessary to report the matter to the Information and Privacy Commissioner of BC or the Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada.

In some circumstances, an employee may be in a position to consider filing a civil lawsuit against the employer due to adverse consequences arising from breach of the employer's privacy obligations. It's worth noting that such proceedings are public, so careful consideration of litigation is necessary, as an attempt to deal with privacy matters through the legal system might in fact become very public.

If you're an employee with privacy concerns in the workplace, it's advisable to seek legal counsel before taking legal action. A lawyer with experience in dealing with privacy law issues can help you understand your rights and provide you with advice on how to get the matter resolved.

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