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Subject Access Request – Data Protection Act 1998

Subject Access Request

So you want to see all the bad things being said about you. The Data Protection Act allows you access to information that is held in a database by your employer. Go to section 7 of the DPA and you will find the reference to something called a Subject Access Request;

Right of access to personal data.

(1)Subject to the following provisions of this section and to…an individual is entitled.

(a)to be informed by any data controller whether personal data of which that individual is the data subject are being processed by or on behalf of that data controller.

So what does this mean to you and is it worth doing?

It means that any document that contains your name, staff number, staff code must be disclosed to you. This includes emails between senior management and HR that could explain the cause of the problems you are experiencing. It can also include CCTV video, recordings, handwritten notes of meetings where you feature.

Time Limit.

After notifying your employer that you are making a Subject Access Request, they have 40 calendar days to comply. Be warned, y0u need to pay a maximum of £10.00 to cover the cost of any printing. Still, the 40 days starts when you made the request, NOT, when you paid for the request – so don’t get fooled for that old trick. You should ask for a receipt of payment as they don’t have to give you anything until you have payed. But you should ask if they want to waiver the fee – you never know.

If you are thinking or going to tribunal or if the situation at work has reached a point of no return, then this could provide you with potentially powerful evidence. You must be prepared to contest the disclosure. Often key documents are lost or seemingly never existed until you appear at a disciplinary when you then get confronted with documents which you have never had sight of previously.

This is not something to do just to upset your employer. It may sour your relationship which could otherwise be repaired.  So get some advice before making a knee jerk reaction.

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