Disputes over data accuracy arising from the disagreement between former employee and employer about reason for leaving employment – Data Protection Principle 2(1)
The complainant was a former employee of a company. The complainant considered the description of his reason of leaving i.e. “termination of employment contract” maintained by the company was inaccurate. The complainant stated that he of his own accord tendered his resignation to the company before he left. The complainant took the view that the company should have recorded his reason of leaving as “resignation” instead of “termination of employment contract”. He thus lodged a complaint against the company for failing to ensure the accuracy of his personal data.
The company explained that a termination notice was served on the complainant after it decided to terminate the complainant’s contract. It had also paid the complainant a payment in lieu of notice according to its standard procedures. The company therefore considered its record in respect of the complainant’s reason of leaving (i.e. termination of employment contract) to be accurate.
While the complainant stated that he had tendered his resignation before leaving the company, the PCPD noticed that the company had processed the complainant’s cessation of employment in accordance with its contract termination procedures, including making a payment in lieu of notice. In the circumstances, there is a basis for the company to regard it as a case of contract termination. Having considered the circumstances of the complaint, the PCPD did not find that the company had maintained an inaccurate record in respect of the complainant’s reason for leaving.
When handling a complaint, the PCPD would carefully examine on the nature of the dispute concerned, whether primary subject matter relates to personal data privacy, or it in fact concerns other issues such as consumer, employment or contractual disputes. In this case, the complaint mainly arouse from employment disputes between the complainant and his former employer, including whether the former employer might terminate the complainant’s contract after receiving his resignation notice, and how the former employer processed the complainant’s resignation. Such employment disputes are irrelevant to personal data privacy, and they fall outside the jurisdiction of the Ordinance and the PCPD.
(Uploaded in September 2020)