Agencies of the Australian and Australian Capital Territory governments must comply with the Australian Privacy Principles in the Privacy Act 1988. As an Australian Government agency, the Commission is therefore required to comply with the Australian Privacy Principles.
The Commission is committed to protecting privacy and adheres to:
This Policy explains the types of information that are collected by the Commission, how such information is used, and under what circumstances and to whom it may be disclosed.
If clients have any privacy concerns or wish to make a privacy complaint, they should contact the Commission by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or by writing to:
The Privacy Officer
Fair Work Commission
GPO Box 1994
Melbourne Vic 3001
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.
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 a 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 by the Commission to process and finalise the application. 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.
Access to case file documents is at the discretion of the Commission.
Where an application has been lodged under the Fair Work Act 2009, the application 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 information subject to confidentiality or non-publication orders made under sections 593(3) or 594(1) of the Fair Work Act 2009, or to internal working documents on case files.
In some instances, personal or other information may be redacted from documents before they are released.
Access to documents on an open case file 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.
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. 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.
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 clients visit 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 client. 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 the client’s hard drive that shows that the client has come to a website a second time, third time, fourth time and so on. Cookies are shared between the client's browser and the Fair Work Commission server.
When clients email the Commission or subscribe to email alerts, the Commission:
If the client 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 client or the client's 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.
While the Commission works to ensure a secure web environment, there are inherent risks that come with providing information via the web.
To ensure the information clients provide to the Commission is as secure as possible, the Commission encrypts all messages between the browser running on clients' computers and the Commission’s online site. The encryption process the Commission uses is Secure Socket Layer (SSL).
The Online Lodgment Service (OLS) available through the Commission website has been secured for clients' privacy and protection.
To lodge case-related documents online clients must supply their name, 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. This information is transmitted to the Commission's credit card service provider to process the transaction. Only the information required to carry out the transaction will be provided to the third party and may be retained 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 mail 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 individuals 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 persons 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 individuals 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 individual (or the organisation they work for) would like to receive information. The Commission would only contact individuals or organisations in their work capacity.
The Commission does not give personal information about an individual 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 members of the public 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 Commission Members, former 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 Commission Members, former Members and staff to other agencies, organisations or anyone else without consent unless the disclosure is required or authorised by law. All enquiries should be directed to the Commission on 1300 799 675 or by emailing email@example.com.
The Commission takes steps to protect personal information against loss, unauthorised access, use, modification or disclosure and against misuse. These steps include a secure network, password protection for electronic files, securing paper files and physical access restrictions.
In unfair dismissal 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. In other matters disclosure is permissible 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.
Where a complaint has been filed with the Commission, the complaint will be handled in accordance with the Commission’s Complaints policy. Complaints are not recorded on Commission case files.
Your personal information and the details of your correspondence will be dealt with in accordance with the Archives Act 1983 and the Privacy Act 1988.
The information you provide may be disclosed to staff of the Commission, application parties, or other government bodies for the purpose of resolving the issues raised.
We will only use and disclose personal information for:
Generally, we do not send your personal information overseas. However, in limited circumstances, we may be required to disclose your personal information to a person, such as another application party, who is outside of Australia.
If we propose to disclose your personal information to an overseas recipient, we will take reasonable steps before disclosure to ensure that the overseas recipient will not breach the Australian Privacy Principles. Otherwise, we will obtain your express consent to the disclosure after informing you that the privacy principle relating to overseas disclosure will not apply to the disclosure.
We have implemented technology and security policies, rules and measures to protect the personal information that we have under our control. However, there are risks in transmitting information across the internet. If you are concerned about conveying sensitive material to us over the internet, you might prefer to contact us by telephone or post.
Once any personal information comes into our possession, we will take reasonable steps to protect that information from misuse and loss, and from unauthorised access, modification and disclosure.
Should you wish to gain access to, or correction of, your personal information held by the Commission, please contact us by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.