Posted salary statistics included personal information, says adjudicator

Names weren't posted, but staff member was identified by the number of publications listed beside his salary increment
|Canadian Employment Law Today

The University of Alberta violated an employee’s privacy when it published a statistical summary of salaries, an adjudicator for Alberta’s privacy commissioner has ruled.

Each year, the university grants salary increases in increments. Each department receives an allotted number of increments which is distributed by the department chair according to merit. The department of electrical and computer engineering posted statistics on how the increments were awarded among the staff. Names weren’t included, but the number of articles published by each staff member who received a salary increment was posted along with the amount of increments received. One staff member complained, saying a colleague was able to identify his salary increase because of the number of publications listed with his increments. Because of this, he argued the posting was a disclosure of his salary information without his consent.

The university said the information used for the statistics was research information obtained from the faculty members themselves. It also argued the number of articles he had published wasn’t personal information as it was available publicly.