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Data Protection at Work

Collection of workers' personal data takes place even before the beginning of the employment relationship, during recruitment. It continues throughout employment and may extend even after its termination. Specific justifications may include compliance with the law; health, safety and security; assisting selection, training and promotion; assessing performance; checking quality and customer service; verifying entitlement to certain benefits etc.

Current developments in human resource management, work organisation and workplace IT have intensified and broadened the collection of workers’ personal data. The evolution of technologies, such as chips for genetic testing or RFID, is another factor. The increased blurring between working life and private life, as well as the development of telework, gives rise to new concerns.

There is currently no specific EU legislation concerning the protection of workers’ personal data at work. However, two general EU Directives on personal data protection apply to workers. One (95/46/EC) concerns the protection of individuals with regard to the processing of personal data and the free movement of such data. The other (2002/58 which amends 97/66/EC) is about the processing of personal data and the protection of privacy in the electronic communications sector. Member States’ legislation has to respect the provisions of these Directives, as well as relevant international law.

Preparatory Documents