How To Respond To A Subject Access Request

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A Subject Access Request is a formal request from an individual requesting a copy of all the information held about them.

So when an employer receives one of these requests from an employee (current or former or even an unsuccessful applicant) how should an employer respond to avoid creating a secretive and untrusting environment?

The employee must formally request the information clearly stating what exactly they would like to see. If this is unclear the employer has the right to ask for clarification from the employee before disclosing the information.

There is a time limit of 40 days in which an employer has to respond by. It is best practice to send the information to the employee, as soon as they have clarified what exactly they would like a copy of. The risk of leaving it until day 39 or 40 looks like the employer has something to hide that perhaps they don’t want the employee to see. This will only raise suspicions.

There is also a fee of £10 payable by the employee requesting the information. This is to cover any administrative charges although this is not compulsory and a business could decide not to charge a fee.

If there are documents that the employee has requested that also refer to other individuals, these documents need to be sanitised to protect the other individuals.

My tip would be to not have anything in writing that you would not want your employee to see or that would cause you to be in breach of your Company policies and procedures, because if they request the document you will have to release it.

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