“The right to privacy also extends to the workplace. It is of fundamental importance that an employer takes this into account. Certainly in view of the ever faster advancing development in technologies”

The right to privacy also extends to the workplace. This means that employers may not always, for example, monitor or have employees monitors, view e-mails or internet use, or process (medical) data about absenteeism due to illness.

As soon as personal data of the staff is processed, a balance will have to be made between the interests of the employer – for example to prevent theft or fraud – and the interests of the employee in protecting his or her privacy. In this consideration, many factors must be taken into account, such as the type of personal data, what it is used for, how long information is kept, who has access to the processed data, etc.

Practice shows that this assessment is not always easy to make. Certainly in view of the accelerating development in technologies for processing and combining personal data. This while people are becoming increasingly aware of their right to privacy at work and the importance of protecting it. The introduction of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in 2018 clearly shows this.

When it comes to privacy, we help with:

  • drafting privacy policies and additional protocols. For example on monitoring personnel
  • reviewing existing policy rules and checking to what extent an intended means of processing personal data is permitted within the current policies
  • advising both employers and works councils (OR) on consent requests regarding privacy at work. Under the law, the Works Council has a right of consent about decisions to introduce or change company regulations in the field of privacy. The Works Council also has a right of consent when it comes to personnel tracking systems, such as camera surveillance and checking telephone and e-mail use at work.
  • advice on the use of company investigations, alcohol or drug tests and vaccination obligations
  • litigating privacy disputes. Is a given dismissal, if there is a violation of privacy, legally valid? Can an employee claim compensation in connection with this?
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Zilver Advocaten

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Privacy in practice

Can an employer process this personal data of the personnel? How far does the employee’s right to privacy extend in this matter? And what exactly does the GDPR prescribe on this point?

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