Ex-nurse wants to take hospital to court over film of her asleep on duty

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 06 October, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 06 October, 2012, 3:11am

A former St Paul's Hospital employee has applied for permission to take her former employer to court for intruding on her privacy, after she was filmed sleeping at her workplace.

Chan Hui May-kiu has already complained, without success, to the privacy commissioner and an appeals board.

According to court papers, Chan's supervisor, Lam Pik-yee, told a subordinate to film Chan, using a mobile phone, while she slept during a shift at the Causeway Bay hospital in July 2010. Lam later said she wanted the video as evidence of Chan's misconduct at work.

Chan, who is described as a member of the "supportive service staff", did not realise she had been filmed until her supervisor confronted her with the video clip during an appraisal meeting in September. Told that month that she would be fired, she resigned instead, the papers show.

Night-shift workers are allowed to take naps at work, but Chan was not told the date and time of the filming, so was unable to defend herself, she noted.

In April of last year Chan took her complaint to the Office of the Privacy Commissioner for Personal Data, which held a preliminary inquiry and concluded the filming had been lawful and fair.

The commission agreed that the video was taken to prevent Chan from denying that she had been sleeping, and did not violate the privacy laws. Chan then appealed to the Administrative Appeals Board in January of this year, without success.

She is asking for the High Court's permission to lodge a judicial review, seeking to have the board's decision quashed. She wanted the court to declare that Lam broke privacy laws and was wrong to show the video to other nurses, she said.