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Storing data about staff: Know your obligations as an employer

The recent phone-hacking scandal and stories of super-injunctions have put privacy issues squarely at the top of the news agenda. How are employers responsible for safeguarding information they gather about employees?

All employers naturally need to retain a certain amount of information about their employees. As an employer, you should try to involve all workers in communications and discussions about the records and information you keep. It's strongly advisable to draw up a company privacy policy, stating what information is held about employees and how it is to be used and stored.

It's important to remember that employees have theright to access any information about them which is held by their employer, such as sickness and disciplinary records, appraisal reviews and general personal files. Equality and diversity monitoring may also require information to be held about employees' disability, race, religion or sexuality, and staff need to know that this confidential information will not be disclosed.

Acas provides guidance for employers on personnel data and record keeping, together with training on protocols for email, web and social network use to ensure compliance with the Data Protection Act.

Visit the Acas training and business solutions page for more information.

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