Breach of Privacy: Why Spying On Your Ex (or anyone else) Will Cost You

Nov 21, 2014

In 2012, the Ontario Court of Appeal established greater protections for privacy.  In the case Jones v. Tsige, the Court established the new tort of intrusion upon seclusion. In that case, an employee of the Bank of Montreal, Tsige, accessed the personal financial records of her ex-husband’s new girlfriend (Jones) on at least 174 occasions. Tsige did not have authorization to do so from her employer. The Court of Appeal awarded Jones $10,000 for the breach of her privacy.

The courts continue to award damages where an individual’s privacy has been infringed.

In a recent decision, McIntosh v. Legal Aid Ontario, Cassandra Reddick was employed by Legal Aid Ontario.  Reddick started a relationship with McIntosh’s ex-boyfriend.  Reddick then reviewed McIntosh’s file with Legal Aid without authorization and called McIntosh threatening to use confidential information against her.  The Ontario Superior Court awarded McIntosh $7,500 for the breach of her privacy and legal costs of $6,500. The court held that the information provided by McIntosh to Legal Aid “was clearly personal information” that she expected would be used only in connection with her legal aid application. However, the award was relatively low because McIntosh was only affected in “a minor fashion,” according to the court.

If your employer or another employee has accessed your personal information or disclosed it to others – you may have a claim for breach of privacy. This could include your employer or fellow employee viewing the following documents without authorization:

  • financial records;
  • health records or medical information;
  • private personal emails or private photos and videos if the employer does not have a policy allowing them to monitor email.

If you believe you have experienced a breach of privacy and wish to speak with an employment lawyer, contact us at [email protected] or 1-888-640-1728 (toll free) or 647-204-8107 (within the GTA).

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