European Union: HR Law Focus Newsletter - April 2016

Last Updated: 21 April 2016
Article by Stefan Nerinckx and Tim Van Canneyt

Our "HR Law Focus" newsletter is released each time we see new legislation or case law that we believe might be important for your business.

The new EU data protection regime from an HR perspective

Introduction

Just before Christmas and after years of negotiations, the EU institutions have agreed on the text of the EU's successor privacy legislation: the General Data Protection Regulation ("GDPR").

The GDPR will replace the 'patchwork quilt' of 28 different EU Member States' laws with a single, unifying data protection law, which should lead to significantly greater data protection harmonisation throughout the EU.

In addition to harmonising the EU data protection legal framework, its main objectives are threefold:

  • First the GDPR increases the rights for individuals;
  • Secondly, it strengthens the obligations for companies;
  • Thirdly, the GDPR dramatically increases sanctions in case of non-compliance. Data protection regulators will have the powers to impose fines up 20.000.000 EUR or 4% of the total worldwide annual turnover. Add to that the possibility for the regulators to impose a ban on processing or the suspension of data transfers, the risk of class actions, criminal sanctions and reputational damage, and it becomes clear that not complying with the GDPR will not be an option.

For these reasons, it is fair to say that the GDPR is the most important change in data privacy law in the last twenty years.

Moreover, it will affect all businesses, all over the world - as every organisation has employees and contacts, even if they don't have individual customers.

In this article, we will provide a recap of the most significant changes that the GDPR will bring from an HR perspective. Employers process lots of HR related personal data on a daily basis. How will they be affected by the GDPR and what steps should they take to become compliant with this new set of rules?

Where do privacy and HR meet on the workfloor?

Keeping the balance between the protection of the privacy of the workers and the prerogatives of the employer can be tricky in several circumstances such as in scenarios of body searches on workers camera surveillance, geolocation, interrogation of workers, hotlines, the use of internet, email and social networks, etc .... There are many laws that apply to this matter.  Furthermore employers also process private information about their employees.

Below you will find an overview of the main aspects of the GDPR for the HR function

Increased rights for individuals

  • The GDPR significantly enhances the rights of data subjects. Firstly, with regard to the right to information, employers will need to provide more detailed information as to the how and why of the processing of HR related personal data. This long list of information to be provided aims at giving more transparency to the processing of data and by doing so enhancing security. Secondly, employees have a right of access to their data and a right to have inaccurate data rectified. These existing rights have been modified in order to bring more clarity but they are not extended that much;
  • The GDPR also introduces a new "right to be forgotten" and the new right to portability.

Strengthened conditions regarding the consent

  • It will become more difficult for employers to obtain a valid consent from their employees to process personal data in the HR context. As a result, employers must seek alternative legal grounds, such as 'the contractual necessity' or 'the employers' legitimate interest'.

Strengthened obligations for organisations

  1. Mandatory notification of a data breach to the Protection Authority and individuals within 72 hours;
  2. Appointment of (mandatory) data protection officers;
  3. Privacy impact assessments, privacy by design et privacy by default;
  4. Requirement to keep the records concerning the processing of personal data.

Increased enforcement and higher fines

New powers given to Data Protection Authorities (e.g. audit rights) and fines up to the higher of 20 million EUR or 4% of the global worldwide turnover.

Direct obligations for data processors (sub-contractor processing data on behalf of the controller)

E.g. Social secretary, suppliers of whistleblowing programs, cloud service providers

Required actions for HR professionals

  • Mapping of all the data processed by HR;
  • Analysing the gap between the actual process and the new regime requirements;
  • Employment contracts, Privacy Policy, acceptable Internet use policy;
  • The processes carried out on basis of consent as today, a lot of companies process personal data of employees on the basis of their consent. The GDPR wants to re-inforce the value of consent given by a data subject. It therefore requires that consent is given unambiguously;
  • Contracts for service providers dealing with HR data.

The GDPR will be formally adopted in June/July 2016 enabling a two year transition period for implementation. However in reality, rules will be applied sooner as Belgium will implement parts of GDRP into national law already in 2016 as well as regulators will start implementing some parts of the Regulation before the entry into force of the GDPR. Anyway organisations implementing new processing activities in the coming two years should already take the new legal framework into account. Given the significance of changes, there is thus no time to lose.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

To print this article, all you need is to be registered on Mondaq.com.

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

Authors
 
In association with
Related Video
Up-coming Events Search
Tools
Print
Font Size:
Translation
Channels
Mondaq on Twitter
 
Register for Access and our Free Biweekly Alert for
This service is completely free. Access 250,000 archived articles from 100+ countries and get a personalised email twice a week covering developments (and yes, our lawyers like to think you’ve read our Disclaimer).
 
Email Address
Company Name
Password
Confirm Password
Position
Mondaq Topics -- Select your Interests
 Accounting
 Anti-trust
 Commercial
 Compliance
 Consumer
 Criminal
 Employment
 Energy
 Environment
 Family
 Finance
 Government
 Healthcare
 Immigration
 Insolvency
 Insurance
 International
 IP
 Law Performance
 Law Practice
 Litigation
 Media & IT
 Privacy
 Real Estate
 Strategy
 Tax
 Technology
 Transport
 Wealth Mgt
Regions
Africa
Asia
Asia Pacific
Australasia
Canada
Caribbean
Europe
European Union
Latin America
Middle East
U.K.
United States
Worldwide Updates
Check to state you have read and
agree to our Terms and Conditions

Terms & Conditions and Privacy Statement

Mondaq.com (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd and as a user you are granted a non-exclusive, revocable license to access the Website under its terms and conditions of use. Your use of the Website constitutes your agreement to the following terms and conditions of use. Mondaq Ltd may terminate your use of the Website if you are in breach of these terms and conditions or if Mondaq Ltd decides to terminate your license of use for whatever reason.

Use of www.mondaq.com

You may use the Website but are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the content and articles available (the Content). You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these terms & conditions or with the prior written consent of Mondaq Ltd. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information about Mondaq.com’s content, users or contributors in order to offer them any services or products which compete directly or indirectly with Mondaq Ltd’s services and products.

Disclaimer

Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the documents and related graphics published on this server for any purpose. All such documents and related graphics are provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers hereby disclaim all warranties and conditions with regard to this information, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. In no event shall Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use or performance of information available from this server.

The documents and related graphics published on this server could include technical inaccuracies or typographical errors. Changes are periodically added to the information herein. Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers may make improvements and/or changes in the product(s) and/or the program(s) described herein at any time.

Registration

Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including what sort of information you are interested in, for three primary purposes:

  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, newsletter alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our information providers who provide information free for your use.

Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) do not sell or provide your details to third parties other than information providers. The reason we provide our information providers with this information is so that they can measure the response their articles are receiving and provide you with information about their products and services.

If you do not want us to provide your name and email address you may opt out by clicking here .

If you do not wish to receive any future announcements of products and services offered by Mondaq by clicking here .

Information Collection and Use

We require site users to register with Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to view the free information on the site. We also collect information from our users at several different points on the websites: this is so that we can customise the sites according to individual usage, provide 'session-aware' functionality, and ensure that content is acquired and developed appropriately. This gives us an overall picture of our user profiles, which in turn shows to our Editorial Contributors the type of person they are reaching by posting articles on Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) – meaning more free content for registered users.

We are only able to provide the material on the Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) site free to site visitors because we can pass on information about the pages that users are viewing and the personal information users provide to us (e.g. email addresses) to reputable contributing firms such as law firms who author those pages. We do not sell or rent information to anyone else other than the authors of those pages, who may change from time to time. Should you wish us not to disclose your details to any of these parties, please tick the box above or tick the box marked "Opt out of Registration Information Disclosure" on the Your Profile page. We and our author organisations may only contact you via email or other means if you allow us to do so. Users can opt out of contact when they register on the site, or send an email to unsubscribe@mondaq.com with “no disclosure” in the subject heading

Mondaq News Alerts

In order to receive Mondaq News Alerts, users have to complete a separate registration form. This is a personalised service where users choose regions and topics of interest and we send it only to those users who have requested it. Users can stop receiving these Alerts by going to the Mondaq News Alerts page and deselecting all interest areas. In the same way users can amend their personal preferences to add or remove subject areas.

Cookies

A cookie is a small text file written to a user’s hard drive that contains an identifying user number. The cookies do not contain any personal information about users. We use the cookie so users do not have to log in every time they use the service and the cookie will automatically expire if you do not visit the Mondaq website (or its affiliate sites) for 12 months. We also use the cookie to personalise a user's experience of the site (for example to show information specific to a user's region). As the Mondaq sites are fully personalised and cookies are essential to its core technology the site will function unpredictably with browsers that do not support cookies - or where cookies are disabled (in these circumstances we advise you to attempt to locate the information you require elsewhere on the web). However if you are concerned about the presence of a Mondaq cookie on your machine you can also choose to expire the cookie immediately (remove it) by selecting the 'Log Off' menu option as the last thing you do when you use the site.

Some of our business partners may use cookies on our site (for example, advertisers). However, we have no access to or control over these cookies and we are not aware of any at present that do so.

Log Files

We use IP addresses to analyse trends, administer the site, track movement, and gather broad demographic information for aggregate use. IP addresses are not linked to personally identifiable information.

Links

This web site contains links to other sites. Please be aware that Mondaq (or its affiliate sites) are not responsible for the privacy practices of such other sites. We encourage our users to be aware when they leave our site and to read the privacy statements of these third party sites. This privacy statement applies solely to information collected by this Web site.

Surveys & Contests

From time-to-time our site requests information from users via surveys or contests. Participation in these surveys or contests is completely voluntary and the user therefore has a choice whether or not to disclose any information requested. Information requested may include contact information (such as name and delivery address), and demographic information (such as postcode, age level). Contact information will be used to notify the winners and award prizes. Survey information will be used for purposes of monitoring or improving the functionality of the site.

Mail-A-Friend

If a user elects to use our referral service for informing a friend about our site, we ask them for the friend’s name and email address. Mondaq stores this information and may contact the friend to invite them to register with Mondaq, but they will not be contacted more than once. The friend may contact Mondaq to request the removal of this information from our database.

Security

This website takes every reasonable precaution to protect our users’ information. When users submit sensitive information via the website, your information is protected using firewalls and other security technology. If you have any questions about the security at our website, you can send an email to webmaster@mondaq.com.

Correcting/Updating Personal Information

If a user’s personally identifiable information changes (such as postcode), or if a user no longer desires our service, we will endeavour to provide a way to correct, update or remove that user’s personal data provided to us. This can usually be done at the “Your Profile” page or by sending an email to EditorialAdvisor@mondaq.com.

Notification of Changes

If we decide to change our Terms & Conditions or Privacy Policy, we will post those changes on our site so our users are always aware of what information we collect, how we use it, and under what circumstances, if any, we disclose it. If at any point we decide to use personally identifiable information in a manner different from that stated at the time it was collected, we will notify users by way of an email. Users will have a choice as to whether or not we use their information in this different manner. We will use information in accordance with the privacy policy under which the information was collected.

How to contact Mondaq

You can contact us with comments or queries at enquiries@mondaq.com.

If for some reason you believe Mondaq Ltd. has not adhered to these principles, please notify us by e-mail at problems@mondaq.com and we will use commercially reasonable efforts to determine and correct the problem promptly.