Lally and QEII Hospital and Health Service District
(2005 F0122, 7 November 2005)
Workplace complaints – application of s.40(c) and s.44(1)
The applicant sought access to parts of documents concerning complaints made by him and others about a work colleague, and the respondent's investigation of those complaints.
The applicant had been given access by the respondent to the bulk of the matter to which he had requested access, in particular, to the matter in issue that directly concerned him, his complaints, and his working relationship with the colleague in question. Assistant Commissioner Moss decided that the remainder of the matter, which concerned incidents not involving the applicant, was exempt under s.40(c) of the FOI Act, on the basis that its disclosure could reasonably be expected to have a substantial adverse effect on the management or assessment by the respondent of its personnel, and that its disclosure would not, on balance, be in the public interest. AC Moss was satisfied that the provision to the respondent of similar information in the future could reasonably be expected to be prejudiced by the disclosure to the applicant of the matter in issue, thereby having a substantial adverse effect on the respondent's ability to manage and assess its personnel.
AC Moss also found that one sentence qualified for exemption under s.44(1) of the FOI Act on the basis that it concerned an aspect of the colleague's state of emotional health. AC Moss was unable to identify public interest considerations weighing in favour of disclosure of the sentence, such as to outweigh the public interest in protecting the colleague's privacy.