Saskatchewan Examiner

Employees who were part of required COVID testing programme are mistakenly terminated

Employees who were part of the required COVID testing programme are mistakenly fired by the Health Authority.

Key takeaways:

  • Around 200 SHA workers were accidentally labeled as participants in the organization’s now-defunct mandatory testing program in an email.
  • One group had 104 employees, while the other had 98. According to the SHA, some 200 healthcare workers were affected.
  • Employees who have been vaccinated but have decided not to inform the SHA of their status may participate in the testing program, according to the statement.

In an email, about 200 Saskatchewan Health Authority (SHA) employees were mistakenly listed as participants in the organization’s now-defunct obligatory testing program.

The SHA’s mandate for vaccines and testing ended on Monday. Previously, about 44,000 employees had to submit proof of immunization or pay for a mandated testing program.

Employees were required to take tests three times a week. According to the “Monitored Testing Program Handbook” provided to workers in November, the program cost them $225 per month.

The email, which was sent on Feb. 11, was acquired by CBC News. It alerted employees that they were part of the testing program and that the program was ending, with all payroll deductions halted.

Also read : Businesses in Saskatchewan react to proof that the vaccine requirement will be lifted

Employees were emailed in alphabetical order by their first names. There were 104 employees in one group and 98 in the other. About 200 healthcare personnel were impacted, according to the SHA.

Another email was sent to staff about an hour and a half later, stating that recipient names were “inadvertently inserted to the CC (carbon copy) field, rather of the BCC (blind carbon copy) field.”

“We regret the error,” the email read, but it added that the first email “does not indicate whether or not the persons named in the email are vaccinated or not”; therefore, it was not a breach of workers’ personal health information.

According to the email, it simply revealed that the employee is a participant in the testing program.

According to an employee identified in the email, the email “does indicate we’re unvaccinated,” who did not want to be recognized for fear of losing their job.

“The fact that we are in the testing program is shown quite clearly. COVID-19 testing is done regularly. And the results of a healthcare test are our health data. “On Tuesday, they told CBC News.

“The error is considered a breach of private details under The Local Authority Freedom of Information, as well as Protection of Privacy Act for those whose personal email address, has been included in the distribution list,” Tammy Martins, the SHA’s executive director of safety and quality, wrote in a prepared statement Wednesday.

“We’ve contacted this group of employees personally, apologized for the error, and urged that they erase and delete the email as soon as possible.”

On the other hand, Martins maintains that the SHA’s blunder does not constitute a breach of health information because it does not reveal the individuals’ vaccination status.

Employees who were part of the required COVID testing programme are mistakenly fired by the Health Authority.
Employees who were part of the required COVID testing programme are mistakenly fired by the Health Authority. Image from CBC News

According to the statement, employees who have been vaccinated but have chosen not to reveal their status to the SHA may enroll in the testing program.

Employees were informed that if they were unhappy with the SHA’s answer, they might file a formal complaint with the Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner.

Ron Kruzeniski, Saskatchewan’s Information and Privacy Commissioner, told CBC News that he can’t comment right now because it looks like his office will get a complaint about the event and that there have already been a handful of inquiries, which he said normally lead to complaints.

This isn’t the first time the SHA has made a mistake regarding immunization and testing policy.

IN OCTOBER, the SHA apologized for sending out a widely circulated internal email that named hundreds of workers who may have failed to submit their COVID-19 vaccination status by a deadline.

The SHA stated at the time that it was examining its methodology to ensure that future emails of this nature were issued more quietly. It stated again that it is investigating the current occurrence to guarantee that it does not occur again.

According to Barbara Cape, president of SEIU-West, which represents SHA healthcare employees, the latest blunder was “boneheaded,” and union members are dissatisfied and outraged.

“When this type of event happens, the members I’ve talked to have stated they’re subjected to scrutiny in their workplaces as well as outside of their employment,” she added.

“I believe the SHA should issue a full-throated apology because this is absurd.”

Source: CBC News

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