Hermann and Department of Employment and Training; KLP (Third Party)

Application number:
2003 F0384
Decision date:
Monday, Sep 15, 2003

Hermann and Department of Employment and Training; KLP (Third Party)
(2003 F0384, 15 September 2003) 

Personal affairs 

The applicant and the third party were both employees of the respondent.  The applicant sought access to parts of two documents that contained details of the third party's hours of work and recorded leave.  The applicant sought access to that information in connection with grievances which he had lodged against his manager.  He wished to establish whether or not the third party was at work on a particular day in 2001 when the applicant had had an altercation with his manager.  The third party had provided evidence to the effect that she was at work that day, and had witnessed the altercation.  The applicant contended that the third party was, in fact, absent from the office on sick leave on the day in question and could not have witnessed the altercation. 

The relevant parts of the applicant's grievances were dismissed by the respondent, and the applicant then lodged a Fair Treatment Appeal with the Public Service Commissioner.  The applicant's appeal, on the ground to which the matter in issue was relevant, was dismissed.  The applicant submitted that the information to which he sought access would support an appeal by him of the Appeal Tribunal's decision. 

Applying the principles in Stewart and Department of Transport (1993) 1 QAR 227 and Rynne and Department of Primary Industries (Deputy Information Commissioner Qld, Decision No. S 192/98, 11 January 2002, unreported), AC Moss found that the matter in issue concerned the personal affairs of the third party and was therefore prima facie exempt from disclosure under s.44(1) of the FOI Act.  However, AC Moss decided that disclosure of the matter in issue would, on balance, be in the public interest.  AC Moss considered that, given the conflicting information contained in the matter in issue surrounding the third party's presence at, or absence from, work on the day in question, and the possible relevance of that issue to the applicant's case, the applicant had a sufficient "need to know" such as to weigh in favour of giving him an opportunity to examine the matter in issue and to satisfy himself about what those records indicated (see Pemberton and University of Queensland (1994) 2 QAR 293 at pp. 368-377).