- Cancer Information
- Practical concerns
- Cancer, work and you
- For workers
- Key questions about cancer and work
- What are my rights to privacy?
What are my rights to privacy?
If you tell your employer about your diagnosis, they should keep this information confidential. Your permission (consent) is needed to tell people other than your employer about your health. There are limits on how your employer can use this information in your workplace.
For example, your manager can ask human resources (HR) how they can best support you, but they can’t tell your team without your permission. Rarely, your employer may share (disclose) information without your consent if there’s a serious health risk to others.
If your health information has been disclosed without your consent, talk to your employer. The person who shared the information may be disciplined. Call the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner for advice on 1300 363 992.
If you take paid personal leave because you are sick, your employer may need a medical certificate or other evidence confirming that you’re not fit for work. But the certificate doesn’t have to detail that you have cancer. Depending on how long you are away, your employer may ask for some details about why.
Podcast: Coping with a cancer diagnosis
Brooke Russell, Principal Occupational Therapist, WA Cancer Occupational Therapy, WA; Bianca Alessi, 13 11 20 Consultant, Cancer Council SA; Dr Prunella Blinman, Medical Oncologist, Concord Cancer Centre, Concord Repatriation General Hospital, NSW; James Chirgwin, Physiotherapist, The Wesley Hospital, QLD; Danielle Curnoe, Consumer; Simon Gates, Barrister, Tasmanian Bar, TAS; Justin Hargreaves, Medical Oncology Nurse Practitioner, Bendigo Health Cancer Centre, VIC; Kaylene Jacques, Director, People and Communications, Cancer Council NSW; Alex Kelly, Senior People Attraction Advisor, Human Resources, Allianz Australia Insurance, NSW; Legal reviewer; Georgina Lohse, Social Worker, GV Health, VIC; Lesley McQuire, Consumer, Cancer Voices NSW.
View the Cancer Council NSW editorial policy.