Judgment No. 4012
The complaint is dismissed.
The complainant challenges the decision not to grant him compensation for the harm allegedly caused to him by the fact that emails that he considers to be defamatory were stored in a folder accessible to all users of the FAO’s IT network.
compensation; defamation; complaint dismissed
The emails at issue were communications between Ms T., a Legal Officer, and the complainant’s Division Director, new to the FAO, in which the latter’s managerial concerns in dealing with the complainant were addressed. It is observed that Ms T.’s communications with the Division Director formed part of her official functions that included providing background information and advice to managers. The emails were marked confidential and in the circumstances were, particularly having regard to their subject-matter, private communications. Additionally, there was no publication or deliberate dissemination of the information. However, the filing of confidential personnel information in a publicly accessible email folder constituted a breach of the Organization’s duty to maintain the confidentiality of a staff member’s personnel information. The complainant, however, did not suffer any damage because of this breach. Leaving aside the fact that the complainant did not submit any evidence whatsoever let alone evidence establishing damage to his reputation or otherwise, he contributed to the possibility of a staff member accidently seeing the emails by not divulging the location of the emails when asked by the Administration. As soon as the emails were located, they were immediately removed. Taking this into account, there will be no award of moral damages for the breach.
confidential evidence; respect for dignity; duty of care
In his brief, the complainant attempted to incorporate by reference his pleading in the internal appeal process. The Tribunal has on many occasions stated that it is not acceptable to incorporate by reference into the pleadings before the Tribunal arguments, contentions and pleas contained in documents created for the purposes of internal review and appeal (see Judgment 3920, under 5, and judgments cited therein). Accordingly the Tribunal did not have regard to those documents.
Jugement(s) TAOIT: 3920