Data protection, GDPR & Employment Cases

29/11/2019 Samantha Grimes

ISOLAS’s employment and data protection experts discuss GDPR, ill health procedures and the latest employment cases

Employers and human resources professionals need not panic about the updates to Gibraltar’s data protection framework, so long as they maintain focus on the GDPR’s 7 key principles, says a panel of experts from ISOLAS LLP’s employment practice and data protection & privacy practice.

The seminar, that took place on Thursday 28 November, was led by Partner Samantha Grimes, Senior Associate Danielle Victor and Associate Michael Adamberry.

This was the last seminar of the year for the employment team who regularly present on topical issues to locally-based companies, including international and private banks, aviation authorities, sporting organisations, online gaming companies, financial institutions, insurance undertakings, Government departments/agencies and wholesalers.

GDPR spurred the most questions throughout the event, with Associate Michael taking attendees through a general overview of GDPR and very recent amendments to Gibraltar’s updated Data Protection Act 2004. He discussed the principal duties as a data controller/data processor, highlighting some of the main problem areas (such as data subject access requests and data breaches), and sharing ideas on how best to demonstrate compliance.

The feedback from industry was welcomed. Michael’s session also covered the topics of covert and overt surveillance and general employee monitoring (through CCTV and other electronic means).

Senior Associate Danielle then updated attendees on the latest cases, including the crucial decisions of the Employment Tribunal in relation to claims brought under the relatively recent Employment (Bullying at Work) Act 2014.  Danielle provided comment on how this Act had applied by the Tribunal and the guidance provided on what constitutes conduct amounting to bullying.

She also analysed UK cases including Phoenix House Ltd v Stockman, which featured a claim involving the admissibility of evidence obtained from covert recording of human resources meetings by employees, as well as The Mayor and Burgesses of the London Borough of Lambeth v Agoreyo, in which in depth guidance was provided by the Court of Appeal on a fair suspension procedure.

The seminar then focused on the management of ill health, with a focus on mental health in the workplace and the sensitivities surrounding the same. Partner Samantha considered the particular challenges faced by employers when dealing with employees taking extended periods of absence arising out of ill health.

She took attendees through a fair ill health process and showcased what employers need to do in certain situations, highlighting the need to take matters slowly and consider dismissal on grounds of incapacity as a final resort, once alternative employment options and/or suitable adjustments to working conditions have been explored and exhausted.

Samantha said: “We are always grateful for the support we receive when we host such training events. We think the session proved to be very helpful to those in attendance and we will continue to run sessions like this to update industry on any legislative or other developments or simply to discuss issues of interest.”

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