Articles: IRELAND


Data Protection and Employment

Under Section 4 of the Data Protection Acts 1988 and 2003 (the ‘Acts’) an employee is entitled, subject to a number of explicit exemptions, to receive a copy of his or her personal data as held by their employer. It is useful for employers, when approaching subject access requests, to adopt a clear structured process that includes: reviewing the request; collating all relevant personal data; assessing that personal data in light of statutory exemptions; and responding to the request. An employer must respond to a subject access request within 40 days of receipt. 

The employer’s response should include three files: two files containing all information which will be provided to the employee along with a third file setting out all personal data relating to that employee, including personal data which has been withheld. Also include a letter which informs the employee of their right to complain to the DPC and which also informs the employee of the categories of personal data being processed by the employers, the purposes for such processing and the identities or categories of any recipients to whom the data may be disclosed.

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National Vetting Bureau (Children And Vulnerable Persons) Bill 

The National Vetting Bureau (Children and Vulnerable Persons) Bill 2012 is part of a suite of complementary proposals aiming to provide a legislative basis for the vetting of persons who seek positions of employment relating to children or vulnerable persons. Currently persons applying for such positions are vetted on a non-statutory basis. This Bill will make this vetting mandatory. The Garda Central Vetting Unit, established in 2002, will be renamed the National Vetting Bureau. Employers would be wise, therefore, to ensure that the new provisions, when enacted, are reflected appropriately in staff handbooks and contracts of employment and that appropriate training is given. Once the new law is enacted, any employer who fails to ensure vetting is carried out will face criminal penalties. The Bill does not apply to any work or activity undertaken in the course of a family relationship or to persons who assist occasionally and on a voluntary basis in certain activities or events be they school, sport or community related.

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