The Fair Work Commission takes its privacy obligations seriously.
The Commission collects, holds, uses and discloses personal information in accordance with the Privacy Act 1988 and the Australian Privacy Principles (APPs).
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Collection of personal information
The Commission collects and handles personal information in exercising its powers and performing its functions and activities, including in:
- dealing with unfair dismissal, anti-bullying and general protections applications; workplace disputes, and applications to approve and vary enterprise agreements
- conducting modern award and annual wage reviews, and
- responding to enquiries, feedback and complaints from parties or the general public.
The Commission generally collects information directly from the individual concerned or their authorised representative. In some circumstances, the Commission may collect personal information from third parties, including where:
- the individual has consented to this
- the collection is required or authorised by or under an Australian law or court or tribunal order, or
- it is not possible or it is impracticable to collect the information from the individual concerned.
Use and disclosure of personal information
The Commission uses and discloses personal information for the primary purpose for which it was collected. For example, the Commission will usually disclose the personal information it collects from a party to a Commission matter to any other party (or their representative), for the purpose of dealing with the matter.
As the national workplace relations tribunal, Commission hearings are generally open to the public and, subject to limited exceptions, its decisions are published on its website. The Commission also publishes personal information on its website for the purposes of dealing with applications made to the Commission. For example, the Commission publishes hearings lists on its website which generally include the names of the parties, the type of application, and the time and date of hearings.
The Commission uses or discloses personal information for secondary purposes in circumstances permitted by the Privacy Act, such as where the individual has consented to this or the use or disclosure is required or authorised by or under an Australian law or court or tribunal order.
Access, correction and complaints
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Access to case file documents policy
The Access to case file documents policy sets out when access may be granted to documents on a Commission case file.
This Policy is currently under review.
Access to documents on a case file is at the discretion of the Commission.
For open files, access to documents on a case file is subject to the consent of the presiding Member.
For closed files, an application under the Fair Work Act 2009 and its accompanying file (including any material in the Commission’s case management system) are generally available for inspection by the parties to the proceedings and the public.
Exceptions to this include:
- unfair dismissal applications
- general protections applications
- applications for an order to stop bullying
- unlawful termination applications
- certain disputes under an award or enterprise agreement involving individual employee(s)
- other matters that are required to be or were dealt with in private, such as matters in relation to Australian Workplace Agreements and conferences in dispute resolution proceedings
- applications under section 576(2)(aa) of the Fair Work Act (concerning the promotion of cooperative and productive workplace relations and preventing disputes).
The above applications and the accompanying case file (including material in the Commission’s case management system) are not available for inspection, other than by a person who is a party named in the application (or their nominated representative).
In addition, for applications under section 576(2)(aa) of the Fair Work Act, consent of all parties named in the application is required before the application and the accompanying case file will be made available for inspection.
For all case files, access will not be granted to any documents that are:
- subject to confidentiality or non-publication orders made under section 593(3) or section 594(1) of the Fair Work Act
- marked "private" or "confidential" by the Commission
- only before the Commission in relation to a private conference, or
- internal working documents of the Commission Member or deliberative material relating to the matter.
In some instances, personal or other information may be redacted from documents before they are released.
Where access to a case file or documents contained in the file is refused, a person may make an application to access the file or documents under the Freedom of Information Act 1982 (FOI Act). Further information about how the Commission handles requests under the FOI Act is available on the Freedom of Information page on the Commission's website.