Court rules on employer name suppression case

The man continues to work as a security officer at the University of Otago. Photo / File
The man continues to work as a security officer at the University of Otago. Photo / File

It is not a breach of name suppression rules to disclose a person's name and offending to their employer, the Court of Appeal has ruled.

The Court of Appeal released a judgment today upholding an earlier decision of the Employment Court that where an order forbidding publication of a person's name and offending has been made, it is not a "publication" to disclose that person's name and offending to their employer - provided the employer has a genuine interest in the information.

A security officer at University of Otago was discharged without conviction after pleading guilty to charges of assaulting a female and willful damage. A University staff member was in the public gallery of the District Court when the man was granted name suppression, and after seeking legal advice, told management about the offending.

The University suspended the man, and he was given a final written warning as a result of an employment investigation.

He raised two personal grievances with his employer, claiming that his suspension and the final written warning each constituted an unjustified disadvantage, but the Employment Relations Authority found in the University's favour.

The Employment Court agreed, finding that it was not against the law for the staff member to communicate the suppressed information to the University because the University had a genuine interest in receiving the information.

The Court of Appeal released its decision today, upholding the Employment Court's finding.

In the decision, Justices Harrion, Wild and Kos urged judges making name suppression orders that could affect a defendant's employment to stipulate clearly what may be communicated to an employer and between an employer's responsible staff.

Read the full decision here:

- NZ Herald

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