Essential points 

  • Data protection is about safeguarding important information and making sure it is used properly and legally.  
  • Employers can keep a range of personal information about their employees without seeking their permission including their name, address, date of birth, sex, National Insurance number, emergency contact details, any disciplinary action taken against them. 

  • Organisations need their employees’ consent to keep sensitive information on them such as their race or ethnicity, religion, trade union membership, health and medical conditions, sexual orientation. 

  • Employers must keep employees’ personal data secure and up to date and have extra security in place to protect their sensitive personal data. 

  • Employees have the right to be told what records are being kept on them, how they are used, and how their confidentiality is preserved.

CIPD member content

This content is only available for CIPD members

Explore options to become a member

Disclaimer 

Please note: While every care has been taken in compiling this content, CIPD cannot be held responsible for any errors or omissions. These notes are not intended to be a substitute for specific legal advice. 

Employment
law advice

Want more employment law advice? Members can phone the CIPD legal helpline or take out a discounted subscription to HR-inform for additional resources.

Callout Image

Related content on data protection

Factsheets
Data protection and GDPR in the workplace

Introduces data protection law in the UK, covering the obligations of employers and individual rights to accessing information.

For Members
Guides
People manager guide: Managing data protection requirements

This guide provides managers with an overview and principles to apply when handling GDPR and data protection requirements to ensure they play their part in complying with regulations governing its safe handling.

For Members
Factsheets
Retention of HR records

Introduces the legal issues in the UK around effective retention and organisation of HR records

For Members
Topics
Data Protection and GDPR resources

Learn more about data protection and GDPR to ensure your organisation is compliant.

Employment law

Access more employment law resources

Employment law
Maternity, paternity, shared parental and adoption leave and pay: UK employment law

Explore our collection of resources around maternity and parental rights, including Q&As on shared parental leave and adoption law and relevant case law

For Members
Employment law
Menopause: UK employment law

UK legal position on menopause and perimenopause in the workplace

For Members
Employment law
Whistleblowing: UK employment law

Explore our collection of resources around legal issues relating to whistleblowing in the workplace

For Members