The Data Protection Act 1998

United Kingdom

New legislation on data protection comes into force on Wednesday 1st March 2000. The Data Protection Act 1998, whilst not aimed solely at employers, has implications for the way employee data is handled.

The new Act imposes more stringent conditions on employers' use of employee data and creates a new category of "sensitive personal data" for which greater restrictions on processing are imposed. The most significant change in the employment sphere is the extension of data protection legislation to cover paper based records, meaning that for most employers, personnel files fall within the scope of data protection legislation for the first time. In addition, employees' rights of access to their records have been improved under the Data Protection Act 1998.

For more information about the implications of the Data Protection Act 1998 from an employment perspective, please go to LawNow and search under the employment category on the information archive for an article on the topic.

For further advice or assistance on the new data protection legislation please contact Simon Jeffreys or Rebecca Barnett on 0171 367 3000.