4 Dec 2014

Execs contradict each other over image

1:12 pm on 4 December 2014

Two senior credit union executives accused of a privacy breach have contradicted each other at a tribunal hearing over the company's use of a Facebook photo.

NZCU Baywide

NZCU Baywide Photo: RNZ / Peter Fowler

Former employee Karen Hammond told a Human Rights Review Tribunal hearing that NZCU Baywide distributed her picture of a cake iced with swear words about the company in an effort to destroy her career.

The company's Human resources manager Louise Alexandra told the hearing when she had the cake picture, Operations Manager Grant Porter instructed her to urgently send it to Hawke's Bay employment agencies by the end of the day.

In his evidence, Mr Porter said he gave no such instruction.

Yesterday, NZCU Baywide's former Chief Financial Officer Peter McAuley told the hearing he was at a meeting in 2012 where he warned Mr Porter the photo was private and sharing it would breach privacy.

Mr Porter said Mr McAuley was never at that meeting and gave no such advice.

Earlier today, NZCU said it accepted it had made mistakes and has breached some sections of the Privacy Act by distributing the image.

The company's lawyer Andrew Harris said there had been errors of judgement by some of the senior managers.

"It follows that while the defendant accepts that it has caused the plaintiff some detriment, it does not accept that it has caused the extent of harm alleged by the plaintiff."

Mr Harris said Miss Hammond signed an employment contract that waived her right to privacy on social media.

Miss Hammond had previously told the tribunal she baked the cake and "iced it with my feelings" to cheer up friend and former NZCU Baywide marketing manager Jantha Gooding, who had reached an employment settlement to leave the company.

Tribunal members from left to right Brian Neeson, Roger Haines QC (chair) and Wendy Gilchrist.

Tribunal members from left to right Brian Neeson, Roger Haines QC (chair) and Wendy Gilchrist. Photo: RNZ / Peter Fowler

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