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Employment Practices Data Protection Code: now consolidated

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The Information Commissioner’s Office has published the first complete volume of the Employment Practices Data Protection Code, providing guidance for employers when dealing with data protection issues affecting their workers.

“Developments in technology, changes in the law and new working practices are putting the spotlight on workers’ privacy,” said Assistant Commissioner David Smith. “By publishing the Employment Practices Data Protection Code we are providing employers with a complete manual on data protection in the workplace.”

“The common sense approach outlined in the Code will encourage and help employers to comply with data protection requirements,” he added.

The Code of Practice is a consolidation of a series of four smaller guides relating to recruitment and selection, employee records, monitoring at work and medical information. It is based on the Data Protection Act of 1998 and should be followed by every employer.

The 1998 legislation places responsibilities on any organisation to process personal data that it holds in a fair and proper way. Failure to do so can amount to a criminal offence.

Although the Code contains guidance and is not legally binding, it provides the benchmarks that the Commissioner will use when deciding whether or not to enforce the Act. Consequently, organisations would be well advised to consider its contents very carefully.

The Code is accompanied by supplementary guidance that provides explanatory notes, examples and frequently asked questions to help readers who want a more in depth understanding.

A summary guide, aimed specifically at small businesses, has also been published. This outlines the key points any business should consider in order to meet its obligations under the Act.

The Code, Guidance and Summary will be available from the Commissioner's Codes of Practice page, although technical difficulties prevented them from being uploaded at the time of writing.

Copyright © 2005, OUT-LAW.com

OUT-LAW.COM is part of international law firm Pinsent Masons.

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