Data Protection and Privacy Advice for Individuals
Businesses and organisations today hold huge amounts of personal data on their customers. While you may have voluntarily given that information to them, they still have a responsibility to ensure that it’s safe, protected, and used correctly. That is particularly the case where that “Data Controller” is your employer.
If your personal information has been collected, stored, or used in breach of strict data protection and privacy laws, we can help you understand what your next steps should be.
Understanding your rights
Our Client JH was dismissed from his job as an electrician when his employer used a GPS tracker in his van to allege that he had been falsifying his time sheets. Not only was this simply untrue, the Employer had never consulted with our Client about the use of GPS tracking and there was nothing in our Client’s contract of employment or company handbook about such usage. Not only was this a cast iron unfair dismissal but our Client’s data protection rights had also been breached.
>“I’d love to have been a fly on the wall in that room when they got my solicitor’s letter” JH, Dublin
The Employer initially took a hard line, but when we made it clear to them that we weren’t for turning and made complaints to both the WRC and the Office of the Data Protection Commissioner the soon capitulated. We also threatened them with a Circuit Court action for their breach of our Client’s Privacy and Data Protection rights. They soon realised the writing was on the wall.
“This wasn’t about the money, it was the principle of the thing. Not only was I not falsifying anything, the manner in which they went about it was disgusting and I could not stomach them getting away with that”. JH, Dublin
When MD came to us she was distraught because her employer had used CCTV footage in a disciplinary action against her. She was really frustrated because the CCTV had been taken in a way that completely misrepresented what had happened. She was working with highly volatile individuals in a care setting and had been attacked by a service user. The CCTV only showed the bit where she had pushed the user off her and escorted them out of the room. This had been surreptitiously recorded by another staff member off the CCTV system in order to cause trouble for our Client. Our Client wanted to challenge the dismissal which we did but we also advised her that there were also other significant issues which needed to be addressed via her Data Protection rights. For example, how was the other employee able to access this personal data? How was she authorised to record it and remove it from the premises? Why was it used in a disciplinary investigation and hearing when it had been gathered unlawfully? And why was no action taken about this unlawful gathering and processing by them and others? Silence.
“I can’t tell you how thankful I am to Sean and his team. In what was the most trying time of my life they were there and supporting me every step of the way. I already settled my WRC case and now I am pursuing them for the breaches of Data Protection. They will regret the way they treated me”. MD, Waterford
Understanding your rights is just part of the process for ensuring that organisations are meeting their legal obligations in terms of your privacy.
From May 2018, new EU GDPR regulations came into force. These new regulations and Ireland’s accompanying Data Protection Act 2018 significantly strengthened existing data protection for individuals. As a result, you have far more stringent protections to control your personal information and how it used. For instance, valid consent for both data collection and its intended uses must now be given and you will have the right to erasure of your Data. Those storing and using your data will also have a responsibility to ensure that it’s adequately protected at all times, including when it’s being transported, and must report data breaches efficiently.
One of the biggest changes is the redress provisions which not only now include very severe fines for Organisations that breach a Data Subject’s rights but which also now provide a more robust system for civil liability. That means that individuals can personally pursue breaches more easily today in the Courts against a company that has breached their rights.
Whether you’re unsure that your data has been compromised or you believe laws around the gathering and processing of your information have been breached, we have the expertise and skills to help you. Should your concerns be founded we can discuss how to pursue redress on your behalf to set the situation right and ensure the necessary consequences are faced by those that can be held accountable.
Our background as a specialist employment law practise meaning we’re ing in contact every single day with our Client’s Data Protection and Privacy rights and are perfectly placed to not only offer you advice on data privacy and protection concerns but for acting on your behalf too. We’ve built up years of experience working with businesses and individuals alike, ensuring we’ve gained a comprehensive view of how to offer you the best level of support.