Q: When I applied for my current job there were many unnecessary questions on the application form that I was required to answer. How can I discover if my employer is holding this information on file and whether it is held accurately? As I supplied the information, is he legally entitled to pass it on?
A: Under the Data Protection Act 1998 you have a right to be told whether data is being held or processed by your employer. You also have a right to be given a description of the data, the purpose for which it is being held and details of any other person or organisation to whom your employer may disclose this information. You should write to your employer asking for access to any personal data about you. You may have to pay a fee.
Your employer must either give you or allow you to inspect the information within 40 days of your request. You may be asked to pay a fee if it is supplied.
If your personal data is factually inaccurate, write to your employer detailing the inaccuracies. Explain that information needs to be accurate under the Data Protection Act. If your data still remains factually inaccurate, contact the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO).
Your employer must not disclose your personal data to a third party, unless you have been informed of this and given your consent. There are however some exceptions. For example your employer is legally obliged to disclose information to the Inland Revenue, the Police, Child Support Agency, Benefits Agency or Department of Work and Pensions, but you must still be told what information is being disclosed, to whom and why. If you think your employer has breached the Data Protection Act, you can make a complaint to the Information Commissioner's Office.