Agencies of the Australian and Australian Capital Territory Governments must comply with the Australian Privacy Principles (APPs) in the Privacy Act 1988. As an Australian Government agency, the Commission is therefore required to comply with the APPs.
The Commission is committed to protecting privacy and adheres to:
If a person has any privacy concerns or wishes to make a privacy complaint, they should contact the Commission by emailing email@example.com or by writing to:
The Privacy Officer
Fair Work Commission
GPO Box 1994
Melbourne Vic 3001
To find out more about your privacy rights visit the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner's website at www.oaic.gov.au or contact the Information Commissioner's hotline on 1300 363 992.
The Commission frequently collects personal information related to applications filed with the Commission. Information is generally collected in documents filed with the Commission or as part of dealing with a matter.
The Commission also collects information during hearings, as hearings are generally audio and video-recorded, and these recordings may subsequently be transcribed into written transcript. When people attend the Commission’s premises, the Commission may also collect personal information about them in CCTV recordings made for security purposes.
Collection of this information is authorised by section 590 of the Fair Work Act 2009, which states that the Commission may 'inform itself in relation to any matter before it in such manner as it considers appropriate'. Information collected includes personal and sensitive information about the parties or other individuals including names, contact details, employment and medical information.
Information collected in relation to an application will be used and disclosed by the Commission to deal with and finalise the application. Section 577 of the Fair Work Act 2009 requires the Commission to perform its functions and exercise its powers in a manner that is open and transparent. Information will be disclosed by the Commission in transcripts, decisions or other determinations, daily hearing lists, or if access is granted to the case file.
The Commission will usually disclose the personal information that it collects from a party in relation to an application to any other party to the matter and their nominated representatives (if any). If a party provides the Commission with further material (including emails, correspondence and documents) in relation to an application, they must send copies to the other parties to the matter (or to their representatives). If they do not do so, the Commission may forward copies to the other parties.
Access to case file documents is at the discretion of the Commission.
For closed files, an application under the Fair Work Act 2009 and its accompanying case file (including any material in the Commission’s case management system) are generally available for inspection by parties to the proceedings and the public.
Exceptions to this include:
These 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 representative).
In addition, access will not be granted to any documents that are:
In some instances, personal or other information may be redacted from documents before they are released.
For open files, access to documents is also subject to the consent of the presiding Member.
Where access to a file (or documents contained in the file) is not granted, 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.
Also see the Use & disclosure section later in this Policy, which sets out other circumstances in which the Commission may use and disclose a person’s personal information.
The Commission publishes a daily hearings list on the Commission's website. These records, once published, cannot be deleted or modified and are held as a public record. These lists may contain the names of parties to proceedings.
Subject to section 601(5) of the Fair Work Act 2009 and any confidentiality orders, the Commission is required to publish decisions, awards and orders of the Commission, including decisions made following determinative conferences. The Commission publishes these documents on the Commission's website and its databases.
The Commission does not give a general consent to the contents of these databases being indexed by other websites. The Commission attempts to prevent such indexing occurring by placing these databases outside the permitted scope of web 'crawlers', 'robots' and 'spiders' that adhere to the voluntary Robot Exclusion Standard.
Decisions of the Commission are also published on the Australian Legal Information Institute (AustLII) website and databases. Information about AustLII’s privacy practices is available at www.austlii.edu.au/austlii/privacy.html. Some decisions may also be reported on or republished on other websites or publications such as in workplace relations publications.
Commission hearings are generally open to the public. If a matter proceeds to hearing and a transcript is produced, it may be published on the Commission’s public website (except for certain hearings at first instance). A party to a matter or their nominated representative may also be granted access to an audio recording of the hearing of their matter at the discretion of the Commission.
When a person visits the Commission's website, the Commission records anonymous information about the visit. The following information is logged for statistical purposes to develop better online services:
The information the Commission collects contains no personal data about the person. It is used for system administration purposes and lets the Commission analyse statistics on how the website is used.
A cookie is a small text file a server puts on a person’s hard drive that shows that the person has come to a website a second time, third time, fourth time and so on. Cookies are shared between the person’s browser and the Commission server.
When people email the Commission or subscribe to email alerts, the Commission:
If a person gives the Commission other personal information when they have, for example, used an online form or email, the Commission will only:
The Commission will not identify the person or their browsing activities except if there is an investigation. In this case, a law enforcement agency may exercise a warrant to look at the Commission's logs.
Note: The National Library of Australia may also archive information on the Commission's websites.
The Commission maintains and monitors online security systems to ensure a secure online environment and that clients’ personal information is appropriately protected during transmission.
To ensure the information clients provide to the Commission is as secure as possible, the Commission provides encrypted connections between the browser running on clients' computers and the Commission’s online site or services that use third party validated certificates. The encryption process the Commission uses is Secure Socket Layer (SSL).
Applications lodged via the Online Lodgment Service (OLS), available through the Commission website, are secured using industry standard encryption and security protocols for clients' privacy and protection.
To lodge case-related documents online, clients must supply their name, telephone number, a mailing address and an email address. These details are required so that the Commission can send relevant documents and information to the client.
If clients choose to pay an application lodgment fee using the secure credit card payment facility, clients are asked to provide credit card details. The client provides this information to the Commission's credit card service provider to process the transaction. The information required to carry out the transaction is entered by the client directly into the third party’s secure payment site and may be retained by the third party to facilitate future transactions including refunds, or to meet legal obligations. Transactions are processed using industry standard encryption protocols.
Client contact information is kept by the Commission to process transactions. It will not be published or passed on to any other third parties. The Commission retains no credit card information from the online payment process.
If clients do not wish to provide personal details over the internet, documents can be lodged personally or by post to the Commission.
The Commission maintains enquiries databases for registering and storing information related to telephone and email enquiries received by the Commission.
The personal information in the databases relates to those people and organisations that have made enquiries and includes names, telephone numbers and email addresses. The personal information on the enquiries databases is used for the purpose of recording and managing enquiries. In particular, it is used for making contact with those who have made enquiries.
The personal information in the databases is disclosed to the people or organisations that have made enquiries for the purpose of handling or responding to their enquiries.
Personal information is stored in databases that can only be accessed by registered users for the purpose of working on enquiries. Staff members have access to the enquiries databases on a need-to-know basis.
Administrative files of the Commission contain personal information and must be accessed by Commission staff on a need-to-know basis. These records include the Commission’s personnel and finance databases.
Personnel files are secure records that contain personal information and must be accessed only by appropriate staff members on a need-to-know basis.
The Commission maintains contacts lists which include contact information about people and organisations. The Commission may use these contacts lists to distribute information, monitor or assess client satisfaction with services, or for longitudinal research.
It is the Commission's usual practice to collect personal information in contacts lists directly from individuals, for example, when they file an application.
Sometimes the Commission collects personal information from a third party or from a publicly available source such as a website or telephone directory. The Commission might collect this information if the Commission thought that the person (or the organisation they work for) would like to receive information. The Commission would only contact people or organisations in their work capacity.
The Commission does not give personal information about a person to other agencies, organisations or anyone else without consent unless:
The personal information in the contacts lists is stored in password protected electronic media. When no longer required, personal information in contacts lists is destroyed in a secure manner or deleted.
The Commission undertakes research. Where people voluntarily provide material for research purposes or participate in research exercises, personal information is not disclosed without consent unless:
Some research may be undertaken by external providers on behalf of the Commission, and contact details may be provided to an external provider for the purposes of inviting individuals or organisations to participate in the research.
The Commission maintains personal information on current and former Commission Members and staff. This information must only be accessed by Commission staff on a need-to-know basis.
The Commission does not provide personal information about current and former Commission Members and staff to other agencies, organisations or people outside the Commission without consent, unless the disclosure is required or authorised by law or is otherwise in the public domain. All enquiries should be directed to the Commission on 1300 799 675 or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
In dismissal, anti-bullying and general protections cases, Commission staff will not disclose to the general public (including employers, the media or other agencies) whether or not an application has been filed with the Commission, unless the information is otherwise in the public domain. In other matters disclosure is permitted unless the Member concerned decides otherwise. Where there is any reason to doubt whether disclosure should be made Commission staff will consult with the Member concerned.
A person’s personal information and the details of their correspondence will be dealt with in accordance with the Archives Act 1983 and the Privacy Act 1988.
The information provided may be disclosed to Commission staff and Members, application parties and participants and other government bodies for the purpose of dealing with a matter or resolving the issues raised.
The Commission will only use and disclose a person’s personal information:
Generally, the Commission does not send personal information overseas (other than personal information that is published on its website, and therefore accessible outside Australia). In limited circumstances, the Commission may be required to disclose personal information to a person, such as another application party, who is outside Australia.
If the Commission proposes to send personal information to an overseas recipient, it will take reasonable steps before disclosure to ensure that the overseas recipient will not breach the APPs. Otherwise, the Commission will obtain express consent to the disclosure after informing the person that the APP relating to overseas disclosure will not apply to the disclosure.
The Commission has implemented technology and security policies, rules and measures to protect the personal information that it has under its control. Once any personal information comes into the Commission’s possession, it will take reasonable steps to protect that information from misuse and loss, and from unauthorised access, modification and disclosure. In addition to the measures described above under 'Secure transmissions' and 'Privacy & security for online lodgments', these steps include a secure network, password protection for electronic files, securing paper files and physical access restrictions.
There are risks in transmitting information across the internet. If a person is concerned about conveying sensitive material to the Commission over the internet, they might prefer to contact the Commission by telephone or post.
Should a person wish to gain access to, or correct their personal information held by the Commission, please email email@example.com.