Grehan and Department of Employment and Training

Application number:
2002 S0120
Decision date:
Thursday, Jun 30, 2005

Grehan and Department of Employment and Training
(2002 S0120, 30 June 2005) 

Prejudice to the management of an agency’s personnel - personal affairs 

The applicant sought access to documents concerning himself, staff of the Department and staff and students of the Institute of TAFE at which he had been employed.  The applicant alleged that those persons had engaged in improper or corrupt conduct, and/or had made false complaints or statements concerning him for the purpose of having him removed from the Institute. (The applicant had been the subject of a grievance, which was upheld, that he had bullied and intimidated staff and students of the Institute.)  The applicant argued that the public interest favoured disclosure of that matter, as it would assist him in his efforts to obtain redress for himself and to prove his allegations of corruption. 

The matter in issue primarily comprised information concerning the personal affairs of staff or students of the Institute.  There was nothing which, on its face, supported the applicant’s allegations and AC Barker found that, on balance, the public interest did not favour disclosure of that matter and that it qualified for exemption under s.44(1) of the FOI Act.  The balance of the matter in issue concerned two employees of the Institute against whom the applicant has made allegations of misconduct.  The two employees had received various e-mails and telephone calls from the applicant which were a cause of concern.

AC Barker found that that matter was exempt from disclosure under s.40(c) of the FOI Act, as employees have an expectation that their employer will not expose them to adverse consequences as a result of having participated in a grievance procedure.  AC Barker noted that, even if that matter contained anything to support the applicant’s allegations, it would be available to a body such as the Crime and Misconduct Commission if it was required to investigate those allegations.