Addleshaw Goddard

UK 200 2014 position: 22


Data protection: Information Commissioner's Office has published a code of practice for subject access requests

The Information Commissioner has published a new code of practice covering how employers should deal with subject access requests (SARs) from employees. It is intended to clarify the procedural aspects of this area of law, following complaints received from both employees and employers.

Under the Data Protection Act 1998 (DPA), employees have the right to: know whether ‘personal data’ about them is being processed by the employer (s. 7[1][a]); a description of the nature and extent of this processing, including the recipients of it (s. 7[1][b]); have this information ‘communicated in an intelligible form’ (s. 7[1][c]); and an explanation of the logic behind any ‘automated decision making’ that uses the personal data (s. 7[1][d]).

SARs may be made on the basis of these rights. Once received, an employer has 40 days to comply with the SAR, but is not obliged to act (but may act if it wants to) until it has received a £10 fee, evidence to confirm the identity of the employee and any necessary information required to locate the requested information…

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