Privacy in the workplace

How long may the personal data of job applicants be kept by you as an employer? Which personal data of employees may you process and for what purpose? Are cameras allowed in the workplace? Are other means of control allowed in the workplace and under what conditions? May you exchange personal data with a third party, for example the payroll administrator or the occupational health and safety service? What security requirements are imposed on the storage and exchange of personal data of employees? What is the role of the works council?

Right to privacy and GDPR

The potential employer is confronted with privacy laws and regulations, such as the GDPR and GDPR Implementation Act, almost immediately, for example when performing an internet check on job applicants. These regulations pertain to the processing of personal data of applicants/personnel in, for example, the personnel file, the monitoring of employees and all exchanges of data with third parties, such as the occupational health and safety service or an external payroll administrator. As it often involves processing of sensitive personal data, the Dutch Data Protection Authority is very strict with employers.

Employer’s obligations and the role of the works council

One of the obligations prescribed by the GDPR is that the employer must have informed his staff beforehand about how their personal data will be handled, for what purpose this data will be processed and how long this data will be kept. This can be done, for example, by means of a protocol or in a staff manual. Furthermore, various additional rules apply to the use of monitoring tools, such as surveillance cameras, e-mail and internet use screening or tracking devices.

In addition, the works council has a right of prior consent with regard to any regulation concerning the use of employee data and/or observing or monitoring the presence, performance or behaviour of employees. In a few cases, the employer must also perform a DPIA in advance and possibly consult the Dutch Data Protection Authority.

Sparring partner

Privacy regulations are complex. We will be happy to help you find practical solutions to your privacy issues. Think of the drafting or checking of employee protocols and the associated works council procedure, making an assessment of your personnel management systems or providing advice on the privacy aspects of personnel management or payroll outsourcing.

Our privacy specialists have experience of guiding employers and HR departments in the implementation of privacy legislation, advising on privacy issues in human resource management and providing legal assistance in disputes with employees concerning privacy in the workplace.

If you have any questions or would like more information, please feel free to contact us. We will be happy to help you.