The Information Commissioner’s Office (“ICO”) has published new, detailed guidance which explains an employer’s data protection obligations when they are processing health data concerning their workers. The guidance is aimed at all circumstances where there is an employment relationship, or other relationship between an organisation and a person who performs work for it (regardless of the nature of the contract). Health data is a special category of personal data and is granted enhanced protection under the UK General Data Protection Regulation (“GDPR”).
In summary, the guidance:
- Explains how data protection laws apply to the processing of workers’ health information and the key points to consider to ensure compliance (particularly with the stricter statutory requirements for processing special category data).
- Explains how data protection applies to specific workplace scenarios, such as sickness and injury records, medical and drug/alcohol testing and sharing workers’ health data.
- Sets out recommended good practice expected to be adopted by the employer to comply with legal requirements.
- Provides useful checklists which can help provide employers with an overview of what to consider when collecting and using workers’ health data.
James Pitts comments:
This guidance is important for employers, as it provides more certainty as to their data protection obligations towards the individuals carrying out work for it (including employees and workers). This is very important, since health data is some of the most sensitive personal information employers will handle. The checklists will also be useful, highlighting key points employers should consider when handling health data.
The ICO guidance can be accessed here. If you have any queries regarding the guidance or require any advice on processing the data or employees and workers, please contact a member of the team here.
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