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Confidentiality and disclosure
- Employees who are victims of domestic and family violence can choose whether, when and to whom they disclose information about being affected by domestic and family violence.
- However, once a disclosure is made by an employee mandatory reporting obligations must be followed (see Mandatory reporting requirements). Has the employee followed mandatory reporting? If they have not made a report to police, managers can discuss with the employee how to make a report using the Report Domestic and Family Violence website .
- Managers should speak with an employee privately. It is important that employees feel confident and safe when they approach their manager or HR officer when they disclose sensitive information.
Managers and HR officers can maintain confidentiality by:
- viewing evidence once (if the employee chooses to share this information)
- not making duplicates of the evidence
- returning evidence to the employee
- reporting that evidence has been viewed
- information will not be kept on the employee’s personnel file, unless the employee gives permission.
Examples of evidence may be, but are not limited to; a police report, medical report/certificate, counsellor’s advice, lawyer’s correspondence, statutory declaration or other appropriate information.
The Commissioner for Public Employment acknowledges that employees affected by domestic and family violence may not be in a position to provide supporting documentation. An employee’s access to leave and other options will be given without supporting documentation. However, the manager/HR officer must be satisfied that miscellaneous leave is required for this purpose.
There may be times, when there is a safety risk to either the affected employee or other employees. For example, if there is a risk that an aggressive spouse attempts to enter the workplace. To maintain safety in the workplace, disclosure of the situation will only occur with the consent of the employee and be kept to a minimum and on a ‘need-to-know’ basis.