Safety concerns outweigh employee’s privacy rights in disclosure of medical information

Employee claimed breach of privacy but employer said disclosing information on medical condition was in the interest of public safety
By Jeffrey R. Smith
|Canadian Employment Law Today

The office of the Alberta Information and Privacy Commissioner has found a driver’s former employer did not breach privacy legislation when it provided personal information about him to Alberta Driver Fitness and Monitoring Branch (DFMB) relating to his ability to drive.

The employee was involved in a serious motor vehicle accident in 2004 which left him with post-traumatic stress symptoms. He received psychological treatment on an ongoing basis and was still receiving it when he was hired by Hearing Conservation Consultants Ltd. (HCC) in 2005. HCC provides mobile hearing test facilities for on-site testing of employees of organizations subject to occupational health and safety requirements. The position required a large amount of long distance driving.

About a year into his employment with HCC, the employee started getting high-blood pressure and blurred vision. He thought these symptoms may be a recurrence of the post-traumatic stress from his 2004 accident and he agreed not to drive until the symptoms subsided.