This policy explains how the Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission handles personal information. It also outlines what you can do if you have questions or concerns.
How we handle your personal information
- We commit to protecting your privacy and complying with our legal obligations about how we collect, manage and secure your personal information. If we make mistakes, we will fix them as promptly as we can.
- The Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission may, depending on the circumstances, collect personal information including health or sensitive information.
- Personal information: any information that can identify a person like a name, contact details, photos or banking data.
- Health information: information about an identifiable person regarding their physical, mental or psychological health or disability or how they want health services to be provided.
- Sensitive information: information regarding a person’s ethnicity or race, political or religious beliefs or memberships, philosophical beliefs, sexual preferences or practices, criminal record, or trade union membership.
We must comply with privacy law when we handle information
- The Privacy and Data Protection Act 2014 regulates the collection and handling of all personal information in the Victorian public sector. The Health Records Act 2001 requires the public and private sectors to responsibly handle health information. We must store personal information carefully and prevent unauthorised access, misuse or loss. These laws require us to only collect or use information that is necessary to perform our functions and authorised by law.
- Occasionally, the law may authorise us to use or provide personal information for another reason. Section 176 of the Equal Opportunity Act 2010 prevents our staff from making a record of or disclosing any information about individuals outside of this organisation that they collect in the course of work, unless:
- the performance of our functions, powers and duties makes keeping a record or disclosure necessary
- a court orders us to disclose the information due to criminal proceedings
- an individual gives us consent to do so.
The information we collect and why we collect it
- The Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission is an independent statutory body which provides a free telephone enquiry line and dispute resolution service. We offer education and consultancy services. We intervene in legal cases involving the Equal Opportunity Act 2010 and Charter. We can perform investigations of systemic issues regarding discrimination. We work with clients and stakeholders. We also provide corporate services like recruiting and maintaining staff within our workplace. This means that we have information about enquirers and complainants, people attending meetings or education sessions, parties involved in litigation, stakeholders we work with and members of staff. The type of information we collect depends on the service we are providing. We will only collect information connected to our work.
- We provide information to people enquiring about discrimination, vilification, victimisation and sexual harassment. We collect often collect personal information from enquirers. For example, a person may provide health information if asking about discrimination based on disability.
- We resolve disputes. To assist with this, we may collect contact details, details about an employer and co-workers, a medical condition, recreational activities, family, and other information about someone’s personal circumstances to help us resolve a complaint. We sometimes ask for sensitive information to resolve disputes about discrimination, vilification or victimisation. Providing sensitive information is always optional.
- We collect information from people attending training or community consultations. For example, we collect names, workplaces, telephone numbers and email addresses of attendees. We may also have information about dietary requirements and disability, if we need to make reasonable adjustments to support a person’s participation in a session.
- We collect information from prospective candidates who apply for jobs as well as staff, for example, names, addresses and medical issues. (We may, for example, have information about a disability a staff member has that requires reasonable adjustments to be made in the workplace.)
- When collecting information, we will take reasonable steps to advise you about what information we are seeking and why we are asking for it. We will tell you whether any law requires the collection of the information and the consequences, if any, of not providing it. In most cases, providing the information will be optional. However, this may limit the service we can provide.
- We use closed circuit television (CCTV) to monitor and record activity in our public areas including the reception, hallways and lifts. There is no CCTV in party or interview rooms, toilets or training rooms. We use CCTV to provide a safe and secure environment for visitors and staff and to protect our property. If we think a person has committed an offence on our premises, we may need to provide police recorded images from CCTV to investigate it.
How we use your information
- We use personal information for the purposes that it was provided. We also use information gathered from disputes, investigations and enquiries for related uses. For example, research, education or reporting publicly on our activities. However, we will not disclose information in a way that can identify a person or organisation, unless the individual or organisation agrees to this.
- There are some limited circumstances when we may release information. For example, it may be lawful for us to disclose information if a court orders us to do so.
How we keep your information safe
- We handle your information with great care to prevent loss, misuse, unauthorised access, modification or disclosure.
- We store and archive information in accordance with the Public Records Act 1973.
- The Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission must comply with Victorian Protective Data Security Standards. These standards require public-sector organisations to adhere to a set of criteria to promote security practices in handling of personal information. We have a plan setting out how we will work to ensure that we meet the Standards. The Standards relate to:
- how we set up and manage frameworks and procedures to handle information.
- how we protect information from unauthorised access, use, modification or loss.
- measures taken via information communications technology to promote security.
- strategies to manage the risk of staff misusing the access they have to information they handle in the course of their work.
- how we protect our staff, premises, electronic systems and files from unauthorized access to personal information.
- This means that we use procedural, physical, software and hardware safeguards, together with access controls and backup systems to protect information. We limit access to our buildings and systems. We require all our staff to handle information carefully and only obtain what they need in order to do their work. We have plans and processes designed to keep your personal information safe.
You have a right to access and correct your information
- If you want to access your information or you believe that the information is inaccurate and would like it corrected, just contact the staff member you have been dealing with. You can contact our FOI Officer at firstname.lastname@example.org or call us on 1300 891 848.
- We will provide the information to you or assist you to make a more formal request under the Freedom of Information Act 1982.
You can access some of our services anonymously
- You can access some of our services anonymously by browsing and obtaining information from our website. You can also choose whether to provide information in an online form.
- Some people contacting us may wish to remain anonymous. We do not collect identifying details in these circumstances. In some cases, however, we will be unable to assist a person without collecting some personal information. For example, a complainant needs to identify themselves and a person or organisation they believe is responsible if they wish to access dispute resolution services.
We use unique identifiers
- We create a reference number for each person wishing to make a complaint about discrimination. Reference numbers allow us to keep a record of complaints made about discrimination, sexual harassment, vilification or victimisation and to avoid conflicts of interest. We do not share reference numbers with other organisations.
Transferring information outside Victoria
- We generally do not send personal information outside Victoria, other than, for example, minimal personal information about staff for the purposes of setting up meetings with other agencies. In unusual cases, we may send information about members of the public outside Victoria if, for example, we are handling a dispute in which one party is outside of Victoria or we are involved in litigation outside Victoria. People based outside of Victoria may apply for work at the Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission. We are careful to protect the privacy of trans-border data flows.
How to complain to us about our handling of your personal information
- If you are unhappy with how we have handled your personal information, please tell us. We aim to resolve all complaints quickly and fairly.
- A Commission staff member can complain about how their information is handled at the Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission. You can contact the Privacy Coordinator to discuss your concerns. You can also discuss it with your manager. They will work with you to resolve it.
- You can make a complaint about how we have handled your personal information by phoning and asking to speak with the Privacy Coordinator on 1300 891 848.
Or you can write to us:
Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission
Level 3, 204 Lygon Street
Carlton, Victoria, 3053
If you are unhappy with how we handle your privacy complaint, you can complain
- If you are unhappy with how we handle your privacy complaint, you can contact the Office of the Victorian Information Commissioner or the Health Complaints Commissioner. Staff members at the Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission can also make a complaint.
Office of the Victorian Information Commissioner – Privacy and Data Protection
Telephone: 1300 006 842
Address: PO Box 24274, Melbourne, VIC, 3001
- If your complaint relates to health information, you can complain.
Health Complaints Commissioner
Telephone: 1300 582 113
Address: Level 26, 570 Bourke Street, Melbourne, VIC, 3000
Policy last updated November 2019.