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ICO guidance on data protection compliance and COVID-19 – The HR Director Magazine

Makbool Javaid, Partner – Simons Muirhead & Burton


The ICO has published a statement recognising the unprecedented challenges everyone is facing during the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and has posted answers to some of the frequently asked questions being received. The ICO is conscious that organisations might need to share information quickly or adapt the way they work and states that data protection will not stop organisations doing that, but it’s about being proportionate – if something feels excessive from the public’s point of view, then it probably is. A couple of FQAs addressing practical employment issues are as follows:

> Can I tell my staff that a colleague may have potentially contracted COVID-19? Yes. You should keep staff informed about cases in your organisation. Remember, you probably don’t need to name individuals and you shouldn’t provide more information than necessary.

> More of our staff will be homeworking during the pandemic. What kind of security measures should my organisation have in place for homeworking during this period? Data protection is not a barrier to increased and different types of homeworking. During the pandemic, staff may work from home more frequently than usual and they can use their own device or communications equipment. Data protection law doesn’t prevent that, but you’ll need to consider the same kinds of security measures for homeworking that you’d use in normal circumstances.


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