requesting details under data protection (subject access) and greviance

(8 Posts)
fizzymilk Thu 15-Dec-11 17:53:15

a friend has been advised to make a grievance and at the same time request info held on their file so that they could see what is held. when friend questioned how this would help they should not sure but sometimes brings up interesting stuff. my friend has never heard of this so my question is is this common when making a grievance and what kind of stuff would that friend find it. the friend just assumes there is typical bog standard hr stuff like personal details and contractual stuff. Also what are the implications of requesting this etc

givemushypeasachance Thu 15-Dec-11 23:06:22

This explains more about the subject access process. I'm not an employment law expert so I don't know how common it is for such requests to be made alongside other employment issues, but basically anyone has the right to request to see what personal data is held about them by any organisation. You just put the request in writing and they have to respond within 40 days. You only have the right to see personal data about you, not other people - so if for example someone made a complaint about you, you don't have an automatic right to know who it was but you might be able to see an anonymised version of the complaint. What you get depends on what they hold on you - it could be all standard employment stuff, they might still have things like interview notes from recruitment, they might have references, or disciplinary information.

There shouldn't be any implications from it - it's a legal right of access, they can't victimise you for exercising it. If they don't comply then you can complain to the Information Commissioner who is rather overworked but seems to like fining naughty organisations who don't obey the rules...

fizzymilk Fri 16-Dec-11 14:45:34

givemushypeasachance, thanks for your helpsmile

LovesBloominChristmas Sat 17-Dec-11 06:00:38

The information they request might only come back after tge grievance process has completed due to tge timescales so if looking to find info to support tge grievance she
Iffy be better requesting it and raising once she has received it or even doing the grievance now and potentially doing another one if something does come back.

Is it a just in case request or is she expecting something in particular?

fizzymilk Sat 17-Dec-11 15:44:36

hi LovesBloominChristmas, it's a Just in case request. she was advised to ask for this information just to see if there is any interesting stuff. that was the only explanation given. my friend and I are clueless as to what interesting stuff potentially if any would be held. didn't know it takes ages for the request to be completed will pass info into friend.

thanks

Missingfriendsandsad Sat 17-Dec-11 16:18:52

It is a good tactic because it stops the employer adding stuff to the folder later or using stuff in their defence that they haven't disclosed and/or using stuff they know about but did not add to the file. eg if you have been arguing with your boss over something - and the dispute is not in your personnel file, you can state that there was no dispute. If e-mails are presented, you say that it was viewed at the time you understood by both parties as part of everyday negotiations over tasks and responsibilities and not as a dispute.. it is a surprise that it has presented differently after the grievance was raised. . if there had been real concerns, you argue, it would be recorded in your personnel file.

A grievance should be a sensible way to resolve a problem - many employers view conflict resolution as being the first step in adversarial action - which it needn't be. If there is a real dispute eg your friend has been underpaid and given work that is too time consuming to complete, then use INDEPENDENT mediation - that can help resolve the issue without a 'you gave me too much work' (boss hears 'you can't do your job') 'no I didn't you are incompetent' (boss tries to divert blame to you) etc which is what legal cases are all about.

Employers often get spooked and immediately start acting defensively and adversarially from day one. If she thinks her employer is likely to have poor HR and act like this, better to suggest mediation straight away and share costs. DO NOT behave like a reasonable person if the other side get adversarial. It will only trip you up - eg 'sometimes I can be a pain' as a concessionary approach to encourage the other person to admit their error will be recorded as 'employee admitted that she sometimes did cause conflict situations and was insubordinate'.

Treat the dispute as a clean misunderstanding of the perspectives on an issue until utterly pushed to act in any other way - its the best approach until you meet real resistance.

BerylStreep Sat 17-Dec-11 23:35:56

I agree that it is a good idea. I submitted a subject access request and found a lot of information (erroneous and prejudicial) which was being exchanged between management about me without my knowledge. Because I had no idea about this before, I didn't have an opportunity to address it.

As already said, it puts the onus on the employer to disclose everything - they can't come back later with additional stuff - and if they do, it is a breach of the Data Protection Act that they didn't disclose at the time.

ProfessorDent Sun 05-Jul-15 12:55:30

Hi, I dug up this zombie thread because I have one big question. If the local council know you have something on them, surely when it comes to a SAR they can just delete the emails or lose the evidence as a precaution, never mind whether they retain this stuff as a matter of course? Otherwise, they know they'll just get sued.

And surely that's how it works with any business/organisation? It's all very well saying, okay, hand over all you've got on me, but even if they have to comply, they don't have to hand it all over and how would you know? How would you enforce it?

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