Now, more than ever in the wake of the GDPR, employers are having to be mindful of the data they hold, how it is stored and how they need to provide this when requested to do so by thgeir employees. Data Subject Access Requests are increasing and, with a focus on data protection, it's important that employers understand their responsibilities.
Partner and Employment Lawyer Mini Setty discusses what these requests are, the obligations of employers and what types of information are included.
A data subject access request is where an employee asks the employer to provide all the information an employer holds about the employee relating to personal data.
An employee might request or put in a data subject access request to gain an advantage potential during a disciplinary procedure or perhaps the employees contemplating legal proceedings
Your responsibility as an employer when responding to a data subject access request is to make a proper search of all of the data that you hold about the employee, to gather it together, and to hand it over to the employee within a certain timeframe which is usually a month.
The types of data that an employer holds that would be captured by a Data Subject Access Request of this kind is relating to all emails, all personal information you hold, perhaps on a personnel file. You would also have to disclose any document that you held by way of a hard copy or in a filing cabinet. All of those items would have to be gathered together and then sent to the employee or the person who is making the request.
The biggest challenges for employers regarding responding to a Data Subject Access Request is the timescale. 1 month is a very short time in which to respond to the request. Also, the effort involved in gathering together all of the email which can run into thousands can be very challenging. The other challenge employers face is that multiple employees may hold data about the employee and they have to track all of those things down. So time, effort and money are all big challenges for an employer