These questions are being answered by Learn HR, a market leader in the provision of HR and payroll training and nationally-recognised professional qualifications.
Question: "If someone asks for the date of birth of a colleague and says that it is because they want to send a birthday card we give them the day and month but not the year of birth. However someone objected to that and said that we were breaking the law. Are we?"
It may sound petty but, yes, you would be in breach of the Data Protection Act. Personal data such as date of birth, home address, telephone number and so on are held by the employer in confidence and should not be revealed unless there is a strict business need to know, the enquirer has a statutory authority to demand the information, or the employee gives permission.
You need to make this quite clear to all your employees. It may well restrict their ability to carry out certain well meaning social functions but it also signals that they can trust you to hold their own personal information in confidence. I suggest that if someone wishes to receive cards from their work colleagues they will find some way of letting them know when to act.
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About Becky Norman
Becky is Editor of HRZone and Trainingzone, global online communities of people working in the HR and L&D industries. Becky works closely with leading HR and L&D practitioners and decision makers to ensure the publications offer a rich source of real-world insight and fresh advice to their audience.
HR and L&D professionals today must adapt to a complex mix of challenges caused by ongoing business disruption, technological advancements, a changing political landscape, varied employee needs and more. Becky aspires to make HRZone and TrainingZone the destinations for professionals to seek guidance, analysis and opinion on how to tackle these challenges and continue to deliver value.