Recovering electronic devices from a dismissed employee

Privacy issues to consider
By Colin Gibson
|Canadian Employment Law Today|Last Updated: 02/15/2017

Question: Are there any liability risks regarding privacy if an employer confiscates a work laptop or mobile device from a dismissed employee that is full of the employee’s personal files?

Answer: The liability risks surrounding personal files on employer-owned electronic devices that were used by a dismissed employee are governed by privacy legislation.

The federal Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA) governs private sector employers, except those in provinces with substantially similar legislation: British Columbia, Alberta, and Quebec. This discussion will focus on the federal PIPEDA; please refer to your provincial legislation if applicable.