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If you run a beautician business, you will often find yourself collecting and storing personal information about your clients, like their allergies and prior health conditions. Here, you may have legal obligations on how to handle this personal information. By understanding these obligations, you will avoid breaching laws and facing penalties of up to $420,000. This article explains when you will need to comply with Australian privacy law for your beautician business.
The Privacy Act
The Privacy Act aims to protect individuals’ personal information and sets out how a business collects, stores and discloses personal information. Examples of personal information about clients that you might have include your clients’:
- dates of birth; and
- medical history.
Do I Need to Comply With the Privacy Act?
Most organisations that collect personal information must comply with the Act. However, a small business whose annual turnover is $3 million or less does not need to comply with the Privacy Act. However, a few important exceptions where you will still need to comply with the Act are if you:
- are a health service provider; or
- trade in personal information.
A health service provider is someone who intends to
- treat; or
- record an individual’s health.
Relevantly, you also provide a health service if you claim that the activity will have any such results.Continue reading this article below the form
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What Are My Obligations Under the Privacy Act?
The Act sets out a number of key principles or guidelines that you must comply with called the Australian Privacy Principles (or APPs).
Some of the APPs make a distinction between personal information and sensitive information. Relevantly for beauticians, sensitive information includes health information about an individual. You may request that your clients complete a questionnaire before some treatments. Under the Act, you may have collected sensitive information if the questionnaire asked about:
- overall health;
- diseases; or
- blood pressure.
Below we set out key APPs and examples specifically relevant for beauticians.
You can only collect personal information if it is reasonably necessary for your activities.
Use of Personal Information
You can only use the information you collect for the purpose that you collected it.
Protecting your clients’ personal information creates more trustworthiness for your beautician business. You may also have a legal obligation to comply with the Privacy Act if you claim that treatments improve the client’s health, and if your annual turnover is over $3 million. Either way, the Privacy Act sets out principles you should comply with, including:
- only collecting information if necessary;
- only using the information for the primary purpose for which it was collected; and
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