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The Importance of Privacy
Would it be classed ‘OK’ for an employee to find out they were to be dismissed before it happened? At the least it would reflect poorly on the employer, but potentially (depending on the detail) leave the employer open to a valid unfair dismissal claim for failure to follow procedure.
Problems with confidentiality?
So just how often do companies have problems with confidentiality? A serious breach happened at Morrison’s recently when confidential data was stolen; a leak in confidentiality which could affect credit ratings and leave employees exposed to fraud.
It’s imperative to ensure the following steps are put in place to safeguard information and/or confirm actions are confidential, as once the genie is out of the bottle you cannot put it back in again. As part of health & safety an organisation has a duty of care to ensure information is not lost and is retained in a confidential manner. This is also one of the Data Protection requirements and employees might be entitled to sue for damages if they suffer losses from a breach.
- Adopt relevant policies and procedure from the QCS resources, there are many relevant to both data protection and confidentiality.
- Brief employees at induction on the absolute need for confidentiality and on the policies you have adopted.
- Hold meetings in confidential and appropriately located rooms.
- Ensure that all personal data is stored appropriately whether this be computer based information or paper based HR folders; indeed all personal data needs to be protected irrespective of the medium on which it is stored.
- Make sure you understand the requirements of the Data Protection Act.
Anita Manfredi of Employer Solutions – QCS HR Expert Contributor
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