Data protection

 Major Data Protection legislation changes coming  have arrived in 2018 . See here for more on the GDPR 

data The below article must be read in conjunction with the General Data Protection Regulation   which became law in Ireland on the 25th May 2018. It has replaced all relevant data protection regulations.

The main act dealing with data protection in Ireland was the Data Protection Act 1988 as amended by the Data Protection (Amendment) Act 2003.

In the virtual world the ePrivacy Regulations 2001 deal with data protection for internet, telephone, email and sms use.

The data protection legislation in Ireland is wide ranging.

We will deal here with employment related data protection concerns.

  1. The keeping of work related records.

  2. Monitoring staff

  3. Vetting prospective employees

  4. Biometrics

  5. Transfer of ownership


The keeping of work related records.

It is important to remember than an employee has the right to see their own workplace records under data protection law in Ireland. The records should be accurate and well maintained.

There is an exception in relation to medical records. The Data Protection (Access Modification) (Health) Regulations, 1989 (S.I. No. 82 of 1989) provide that health data relating to an individual should not be made available to that individual, in response to an access request, if that would be likely to cause serious harm to the physical or mental health of the data subject. You should refer the file to the company doctor.

If the information is very sensitive, you should take advice from one of our experts.





Monitoring staff

It is important to maintain a balance between protecting the interests of the business and the right to privacy of the employee.

The collection of information, whether electronic, written, data based, images or internet based is covered by the Data Protection act.

The acceptable usage policy is a very important document. Make sure that an effective one exists in your workplace. Contact us for assistance.


Monitoring company vehicles

With a wealth of devices available to keep track of company vehicles, the question that arises for both the employer and employee is, how does the monitoring of a company vehicle affect the data protection rights of the worker in Ireland ? The answer is simple. It is covered under current Irish Data Protection legislation. The monitoring of a company vehicle involves the collection of personal data. In tracking the vehicle, you are also tracking the movements of the person in charge of that vehicle. This brings it under the remit of the Data Protection Act 1988 as amended by the Data Protection (Amendment) Act 2003.

You must be able to show that there is a good business reason to implement vehicle tracking.

You have to make it known to the employee concerned that the vehicle is being monitored, and the reasons why. This should be in writing and receipt acknowledged by the employee.

If the employee is permitted to use the vehicle for non work purposes, there must be a way to turn off the tracking device, so that you are not monitoring the worker's private movements.


Vetting prospective employees

Only those organisations which are registered with the Central Vetting Unit within An Garda Siochana can request such a process.



With the constant improvement in methods for using biometric data in the workplace, care should be taken to ensure that their use is not excessive.

The data protection act states that data "shall be adequate, relevant and not excessive in relation to the purpose or purposes for which they were collected or are further processed."


Transfer of ownership

The negotiation process in the transfer of ownership of a business will usually involve the disclosure of employee data. This must be clearly and thoroughly dealt with in the Data Protection Policy of the business. It should deal with the circumstances under which data will be exchanged, together with the type of data. The sharing of sensitive data should be avoided.

Take care. Take advice

Getting it wrong when it comes to Data Protection can unleash a torrent of bad publicity and create tension in the workplace. It is better to take care and get it right first time.

Please feel free to contact us using the orange Tell Me More button below, for independent advice.


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