Dismissal Of Employee With No Previous Disciplinary Record Upheld

A Saskatchewan arbitrator upheld the termination of a 25-year employee with a discipline-free record in Health Sciences Association of Saskatchewan v Saskatchewan Association of Health Organizations (Prairie North Health Region), 2014 CanLII 5231.

The grievor was employed in a position that gave her access to the Picture Archiving & Communication System (PACS) system. An audit of that system disclosed that the grievor had accessed personal health information of 99 persons who were not her patients or within her circle of care. She had also shared information with others on occasion.

Although the grievor claimed no knowledge that her actions were wrong, her claim was inconsistent with evidence showing that policies forbidding her actions were in place and that she continued to access PAC records after being told that it was wrong. The sheer magnitude of the grievor's confidentiality breaches over an extended period of time justified the discharge as the employment relationship was irreparably damaged and could not be restored. The employer was not under an obligation to monitor the grievor's access to PACS.

Note: This a reprint of an article by Michael Torrance of Norton Rose Fulbright Canada LLP.