GR# 0890 - Email and Personal Communications Privacy

Collective Agreement Referenced: 2011-2014

Article(s): 5, 10

Nature of Dispute: WUFA alleged that the University examined certain Faculty Association Members’ files and personal communications without prior authorization or express permission.

Result of Grievance: WUFA withdrew this grievance without prejudice after discovering further information about the two (2) cases related to this grievance. In the first instance, the email search was conducted by the Office of Internal Audit, and it focused on the names of individuals outside the University who were allegedly involved in the misuse of research funds. In the second instance, although approval was given to access the account, the process was not undertaken because the complainant furnished sufficient evidence for the investigation.

When the grievance was withdrawn by the Association, WUFA asserted to Administration that the privacy protections afforded to Members under Article 5 must be understood to apply to all email communications sent and received by members. Any search of an email database will crawl any number of unrelated emails and may return false-positives containing confidential information entirely unrelated to any investigation. It is WUFA’s expectation that the University will respect members' privacy rights with respect to email.

Grievance initiated: July 10, 2012
Grievance withdrawn: November 21, 2014

Relevant Docs:         
(1)  GR# 0890