PH Privacy

COVID-19 UK: The UK ICO Publishes Anticipated Guidance on Workplace Testing

May 15, 2020

Sarah Pearce, Ashley Webber & Kirsty Devine

While COVID-19 continues to affect businesses and individuals globally, the conversation with respect to workplaces is starting to change. The rules of lockdown in most countries required (and continue to require) that, where possible, employees work from home: this saw a huge shift and adjustment in how organisations function and operate on a day-to-day basis. However with many countries now starting to look towards softening the lockdown rules, this has led to many employers questioning what steps they may and should take when their employees return to the workplace to ensure the spread of COVID-19 is limited. One such method of lowering the spread in the workplace which has received a lot of attention is workplace testing, particularly temperature testing. For some organisations, requiring employees to undergo anti-body testing may also be a consideration. Testing of any nature would almost certainly always require the employer to process the personal data of the employee with most instances also involving special category data i.e. health data, and therefore would be subject to the laws of data protection in the United Kingdom and European Union.

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