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Letter carrier accuses boss of intercepting and reading a document

A Canada Post letter carrier complained that his supervisor had gained unauthorized access to a medical form related to a disability insurance claim.

The complainant claimed he had given the form in a sealed envelope to his supervisor, with the understanding that the supervisor would forward it, unopened, to the medical insurance company. The letter carrier asserted that the supervisor had opened the envelope, read the form, and used the information to challenge the validity of other medical documentation he had supplied to Canada Post.

In our investigation, the supervisor acknowledged she may have read the form, although she said she could not remember having done so. She insisted, however, that she would never have opened a sealed envelope.

Our investigation could not determine whether the form had, in fact, been sealed in an envelope. We did, however, confirm that the supervisor had used the health information on the form to contradict other health-related documentation supplied by the employee.

We concluded that the employee’s personal information had, indeed, been used for a purpose inconsistent with the purpose for which the data was collected, and was used in this way without the complainant’s permission. We therefore upheld his complaint as well founded.

We did, however, find that the breach was isolated, and that Canada Post has clear practices for managing disability claims.

We recommended that Canada Post remind all staff to submit their insurance claim forms directly to the insurer. We also recommended that the organization remind managers to refuse to accept such forms on behalf of their staff.

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