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Implications of the new guidance on DSARs – The HR Director Magazine

Makbool Javaid, Partner – Simons Muirhead & Burton

Data subject access requests (DSARs) are often the bane of employers’ lives – compiling the information sought is a time-consuming and arduous process. Unfortunately, DSARs, which give employees the right to access personal data held on them by an employer, has become an increasingly common tool for staff seeking information to strengthen potential employment tribunal claims.

People Management reports that while there is no escaping that DSARs are often difficult to deal with, there is a glimmer of hope in that new guidance published by the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) may make it easier for employers.

For many organisations, one of the main difficulties is they have just one month by default to compile all of the information their employee has requested. For a long-serving employee that is a lot of files and emails to search, review, collate and redact. The new guidance allows for employers to ‘stop the clock’ when they need to clarify what is being requested.

Organisations should seek clarification as early as possible because, if left too late, there will be insufficient time to comply when the clock resumes. However, if the employer doesn’t hear back within a reasonable period (the ICO says t one month would generally be considered reasonable), they can consider the DSAR closed.


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