An OH nurse who won an unfair dismissal claim after defending the principle of confidentiality of employee health data was hailed as a “role model” and “a very courageous nurse” by a leading employment law lawyer.
Tracey Cooke won her case against Yorkshire Probation Board in 2004 because an HR manager had breached confidentiality law by looking at a pre-employment questionnaire, despite Cooke passing the individual fit for work and refusing to disclose the information.
Although Cooke had been employed for less than a year in the organisation, and would not usually be entitled to employment protection, she was allowed to make the claim under the protected disclosures, or whistleblowing, legislation.
“My view is that it is not your [OH’s] job to be a police force,” barrister Diana Kloss told delegates. “It is your ethical duty to keep confidence.”
Read Tracey Cooke’s first-hand account of her experience in next month’s Occupational Health.