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I have an employee who left under a cloud. Now he has gone, he has written to me asking for a ridiculous amount of personal information, CCTV footage of him, any email mentioning his name, all the documents from his personnel file. I think he is just trying to make trouble and it will take me a long time, so can I refuse the request?
Under the Data Protection Act 1998 all employees have had the right to a “subject access request”. The right is to data that could potentially identify the employee as an individual and of course the information might be stored in a number of ways, either electronically, in paper files or on camera. The precise rules for dealing with the subject requests will soon be changing under the GDPR so from 25 May 2018 onwards, the employer would have to comply with the request without undue delay and within one month. It used to be the case that you could charge a £10 fee for the request, however, that is soon to be abolished under the GDPR. Unless the request is manifestly unfounded or excessive. In very rare circumstances you can also refuse a request on those grounds but the guidance from the information commissioner suggests that will be the most extreme cases only. There are some limited exceptions to the exemptions to the data that you would have to disclose, for example, if the personal data being requested is legally privileged. Subject access requests do unfortunately often take a large amount of time to collate but given there can be fines for non-compliance employers are advised to respond. It will also be a criminal offence under the new legislation to change or conceal information instead of responding properly to a subject access request.
Motor Industry Legal Services
Motor Industry Legal Services (MILS Solicitors) provides fully comprehensive legal advice and representation to UK motor retailers for one annual fee. It is the only law firm in the UK which specialises in motor law and motor trade law. MILS currently advises over 1,000 individual businesses within the sector as well as the Retail Motor Industry Federation (RMI) and its members.