Getting a copy of your data is easier than ever, by following these simple steps you can request your data from any organisation via a subject access request. In this post we will be focusing on employers.
Why would you want to request your data from an employer?
There are a number of reasons why you may want to request your data from an employer. From legal reasons, to wanting to understand your digital footprint better. These are some of the most common reasons;
- For legal reasons / part of a dispute
- Understanding the reach of your footprint
Finding what an employer holds on you
Requesting your data from an employer is one of the most common requests seen today. There are some key points to take note of before raising a request to make sure that you get exactly what you need.
Be specific – its really important that you be specific in your request. Not only to make sure you get exactly what you need, but the more specific you are, the quicker the request is likely to be
Be mindful of your relationship – this isn’t always true and not a problem as such, but employers have been known to be annoyed or frustrated when an employee requests their data. Partly due to the overhead but also as some consider it offensive, which leads on to the next point
Don’t be embarrassed – Requesting your information is a fundamental right and you should not feel restrained from raising a request, employers should be forthcoming and responsive with your request and not judge. The more we request information, the more used to it companies will be, which is a benefit for everyone.
Remember, your data covers lots of things – carrying on from being specific, your data covers lots of things. One of these that people are most surprised by is that emails come under this too. If you request emails relating to you within a certain time frame, your employer is legally obliged to facilitate, within a few boundaries.
What kind of things can you expect to find when you request your data?
The information that you can expect will be dependant on the organisation however there are some standard things;
CCTV footage – if your employer uses CCTV, you could request CCTV footage within a certain time-frame.
Email exchanges – commonly missed, you can request a copy of email exchanges that relate to you within a time frame. note your employer will remove identifiable information relating to other individuals and may refuse to provide information that is commercially sensitive
HR / payroll information – You can request HR / payroll related information that is held – you might want this for going to a new employer or to get a copy of things like occupational health records.
Information shared with 3rd parties – Some people want to know where there data has been shared and the 3rd parties involved. You can do this too via a subject access request.
How do I send a subject access request?
Sending a request is simple and in this case is probably best to do manually. Here is a step by step process for raising a subject access request.
- Find the best email address to contact (although have to route it to the right place regardless)
- Send an email, being clear that you are raising a Subject Access Request. Ensure that you are very clear on your request. It’s best to include time frames.
- Consider requesting it in a certain format. We don’t recommend that you receive this sensitive information via email. If your company has a secure file sharing platform then this is recommended, alternatively you can request to use your sharing platform, like dropbox.
- Your employer has to respond within 30 days but may chose to extend it if the request is considered excessive or particularly complex. Ask to see the reasons behind this.
- Done – your request has been sent via the appropriate process and you will need to wait. For any issues or failures to comply, you can escalate your issue to the Information Commissioners Office (ICO)
What if I want to send a subject access request to multiple employers?
The subject access request process can be time consuming if you are trying to contact multiple organisations. There are tools out there that can help request your data from multiple companies. One of these was our earlier iteration of mappd which has since been closed to allow focus on the current product due to be released. We will be bringing this feature back, so keep your eyes peeled.