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Can I invoke Data Protection Act with my line manager?


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Trying to cut a very long and complicated story very short I have become aware by my bosses own admission that he is keeping in his words "a diary" of things myself, and he assures me my colleagues do and say. In a job review 2 weeks ago he asked me to explain my actions in a team meeting dated 26th October 2010. Obviously I can't even remember the meeting let alone my actions....apparently he tells me when I tell him I cannot recall, I was doodling and would not give him eye contact to show him I was interested!!

 

 

Whilst writing this I can see how childish this seems but I can't help bit wonder why he is doing such a thing, why he is then using it like ammunition many months later and what else is in this 'diary'?!

 

I asked at the time to read the one he kept on me and he refused zipping up his folder. Having caught a glimpse it was word processed so is being held on computer which makes me think DPA could apply.

 

Any thoughts greatly received ;) x

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Yes, there is no reason why the DPA shouldn't apply to it.

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I can speak from personal experience on this one!

 

You are entitled to see anything your employer (in this case line manager) holds on you whether it be on paper or computer. However they can redact anything that involves a third party in those notes. DPA and the Freedom of Information Act both come into play. Email him, make sure you get a delivery and read receipt and, in my opinion, most importantly print off a hard copy. Employers have to provide this within a certain timeframe. I am sure if you google subject access request, which is what you are 'doing', you can find the upto date length. I'm not sure but I think employers can charge you photocoping if they are real meanies.

 

Funny thing is your post sounds so similar to my experience at an end of year appraisal when all these notes were trawled out by my manager - for complete irrelvancies in the main.

 

You could always make it clear, politely, in the email that you became aware of your manager holding specific 'management notes' on you and you want those included in the file you are provided with.

 

Go for it!

 

Hx

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And start looking for a new job, cos if you do, 'invoke' as you put it the DPA, if he doesn't get rid short term, he will long term.

 

Just an observation,

 

Hammy :-)

42 years at the pointy end of the motor trade. :eek:

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I can speak from personal experience on this one!

 

You are entitled to see anything your employer (in this case line manager) holds on you whether it be on paper or computer. However they can redact anything that involves a third party in those notes. DPA and the Freedom of Information Act both come into play. Email him, make sure you get a delivery and read receipt and, in my opinion, most importantly print off a hard copy. Employers have to provide this within a certain timeframe. I am sure if you google subject access request, which is what you are 'doing', you can find the upto date length. I'm not sure but I think employers can charge you photocoping if they are real meanies.

 

Funny thing is your post sounds so similar to my experience at an end of year appraisal when all these notes were trawled out by my manager - for complete irrelvancies in the main.

 

You could always make it clear, politely, in the email that you became aware of your manager holding specific 'management notes' on you and you want those included in the file you are provided with.

 

Go for it!

 

Hx

 

The LIne manager is not the employer and he will be the wrong person to send the SAR to. It has to go to the company head office and be dealt with by a senior person in the company who will be responsible for this kind of thing.

 

In fact, you would be very ill-advised to ask your line manager directly

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I am not sure that your boss keeping a diary amounts to a contravention of the DPA 1998. I would contact the ICO on 0303 123 1113 - the ICO deal with breaches of the DPA 1998 and would be in a good position to give you a definitive answer.

 

However, I can say that you are legally entitled to see all information, which your employer keeps on you. A request in writing from yourself would mean your employer would have to provide the information within 40 days.

 

However, the fact your boss is keeping a diary in written form suggests an ulterior motive, and induces the opinion it is going to be used in a negative way at some point in the future. I would invoke Article 8 of the Human Rights Act 1998, with regard to the "Right to Privacy".

Two things spring to mind here:

 

1. I believe your bosses actions amount to a breach of the "mutual trust and confidence". He is abusing the power which he delegates, and is acting in a capricious manner.

 

2. This leaves you two options - the formal or informal route:

 

(i) The informal route would be to tackle him on the matter whilst secretly recording your conversation on your mobile telephone. Have a witness present.

 

(ii) The second would be to invoke the grievance procedure, and place on the record your concerns regarding his actions, as they are clearly disingenuous. I believe this route is more appropriate, as your boss is not acting in "good faith".

 

(iii) Send your written formal grievance via email, to the organisations HR Dept. I would also be inclined to CC your written grievance to a director within the organisation (directors have fiduciary duties to protect employees' against "harassment"). I suggest you state within your grievance that you contend your bosses "unwanted conduct" amounts to "harassment" and is being undertaken to "intimidate" you. You need to state that you find your bosses behaviour both "distressing" and "stressful". As such, it is needlessly causing you "anxiety" which is "prejudicial" to your health.

 

(iv) Any concerns your boss has regarding your 'conduct or performance' should be addressed according to the organisations policies and procedures, and not by him keeping a secret diary. Further, raising these issues within a "meeting" amongst your peers is a "deliberate act" orchestrated to cause you "humiliation".

 

(v) State within your formal grievance that you contend your bosses conduct may amount to a breach of the "mutual trust and confidence". Your boss is failing to observe the "good faith performance" by acting in an underhanded manner. I would not mince your words here, your boss is clearly in the wrong.

 

3. I feel that if you let this matter go without addressing it, there will be further problems down the road for you.

 

Good luck

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Your subject access request should be made directly to the company's Registered Data Controller, you can find yours here...... http://www.ico.gov.uk/ESDWebPages/search.asp

 

If you get an answer along the lines ... 'what management notes??' I suggest you , as per what Hammy said above... start looking for a new job... !!!!!! One gets the impression that your manager is after you, perhaps to make an example and reinforce his / her authority.

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andi,

 

I would suggest that the reason he is doing this is to provide concrete evidence in the case there is any likelihood of disciplinary proceedings, dismissal, redundancy etc. It covers his back if he can show an extended period of poor performance. To be honest, this is a legitimate management tool and is used by managers in a large number of companies.

 

You need to assume that he is watching your every action at work and act accordingly ie don't give him any reason to complain about your behaviour. If, as he says, he is also keeping notes on your other colleagues then you being squeaky clean will mean that he will concentrate on those others that aren't.

 

Believe me, I have worked for a number of very large, household name, companies and this sort of behaviour is not uncommon.

 

To be honest with you I have been on the wrong end of this sort of thing before and it does mean that your manager has an issue with you. However, on the other hand, if all he has on you in a negative light in the last 6 months is this one instance then, I would suggest, that's not very much to worry about.

 

It's very hard to give any meaningful advice without knowing the whole situation but you do need to consider first of all your current relationship with your manager and how this request might affect things if you pursue it.

 

Hope this helps.

 

 

 

 

Giggins,

 

Sorry, but I do have a few issues with your post:-

 

However, the fact your boss is keeping a diary in written form suggests an ulterior motive, and induces the opinion it is going to be used in a negative way at some point in the future. I would invoke Article 8 of the Human Rights Act 1998, with regard to the "Right to Privacy".

 

Sorry but have you ever read the Human Rights Acts or the European Convention on Human Rights?

 

From the above quote, I would guess that the answer is no.

 

For the benefit of others reading this, I will include the relevant article here:-

 

Article 8

Right to respect for private and family life

 

1 Everyone has the right to respect for his private and family life, his home and his correspondence.

 

2 There shall be no interference by a public authority with the exercise of this right except such as is in accordance with the law and is necessary in a democratic society in the interests of national security, public safety or the economic well-being of the country, for the prevention of disorder or crime, for the protection of health or morals, or for the protection of the rights and freedoms of others.

After reading the above, I would just like to ask, how does your comment:-

 

I would invoke Article 8

 

bear any relation to the OP's situation. How can his actions in the workplace be described as his 'private and home life'?

To give you a couple of examples where Article 8 was successfully used. The prison service used to open letters between prisoners and their lawyers. This was challenged on the grounds of legal privilege and under Artilce 8. It was held that it was a breach of the prisoners' Article 8 rights for the prison service to do this and so it was stopped.

 

There was another group of offenders where the police were trying to get around the necessity of getting a search warrant but, again, the court decided that this was illegal under other laws and also a breach of their article 8 rights.

 

To suggest that keeping a record of an employee's actions in the workplace is a breach of his article 8 rights is clearly absurd.

 

 

 

Two things spring to mind here:

 

1. I believe your bosses actions amount to a breach of the "mutual trust and confidence". He is abusing the power which he delegates, and is acting in a capricious manner.

 

Sorry, but what is capricious about recording things that happened?

 

Also, what power is he delegating and who is he delegating it to? - that is just meaningless

 

 

 

(ii) The second would be to invoke the grievance procedure, and place on the record your concerns regarding his actions, as they are clearly disingenuous. I believe this route is more appropriate, as your boss is not acting in "good faith".

 

Why is he being disingenuous? Keeping notes on employee's behaviour is not disingenuous.

 

 

(iii) Send your written formal grievance via email, to the organisations HR Dept. I would also be inclined to CC your written grievance to a director within the organisation (directors have fiduciary duties to protect employees' against "harassment"). I suggest you state within your grievance that you contend your bosses "unwanted conduct" amounts to "harassment" and is being undertaken to "intimidate" you. You need to state that you find your bosses behaviour both "distressing" and "stressful". As such, it is needlessly causing you "anxiety" which is "prejudicial" to your health.

 

If you try doing this then I really would start looking for a new job straight away and you can forget getting a good reference from them.

 

 

 

(iv) Any concerns your boss has regarding your 'conduct or performance' should be addressed according to the organisations policies and procedures, and not by him keeping a secret diary. Further, raising these issues within a "meeting" amongst your peers is a "deliberate act" orchestrated to cause you "humiliation".

 

It would help if you actually read what the OP actually said. The manager did NOT

 

raise these issues within a "meeting" amongst your peers

 

the OP quite clearly states that this happened during a 'job review' which, from the terminology he uses, I would suggest is part of the policies and procedures of the company. I would suggest that it would help if you read things properly before posting anything suggesting that he should take such extreme measures.

 

 

(v) State within your formal grievance that you contend your bosses conduct may amount to a breach of the "mutual trust and confidence". Your boss is failing to observe the "good faith performance" by acting in an underhanded manner. I would not mince your words here, your boss is clearly in the wrong.

 

Oh no he's not.

 

 

Please do be very careful before posting these sorts of suggestions. I would suggest that if the OP followed your suggestions then he would be in a much worse position.

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Hey all many thanks for the many posts above.

 

I do have to say I believe he has an ulterior motive and am trying to be very careful, but realistically when he is using the fact I doodled in a meeting 4 months ago it becomes clear that he is digging very hard - but that he feels the reason to dig.

 

I was trying to cut a long story short but I have previously made a formal grievence about this manager due to his conduct whilst my son was in hospital having heart surgery and I was off work. He is a naive manager that is not all that discreet about 'issues' he has with staff members. Last week I overheard him telling 3 people that one of my colleagues would be going through a disciplinary when he returns from "work related stress" and that this colleagues work is "shambolic" - obviously not something that I should have heard or been discussed with others.

This is very much common place.

 

Without giving away my job title or company I would say that I work for a public organisation which is heavily government funded so you can imagine the red tape in hiring and firing etc.

 

In response to Nicklea - thank you for your helpful post however I would like to clarify if this was being used as a "genuine management tool" I would not have a problem with this, if what he wrote was addressed in a timely manner I would also not have a problem but seemingly saving things to be used in a recorded annual review is I believe slightly vindictive and underhand.

 

He went on to tell me in this review that as I doodled in his meeting and would not give him eye contact to show him I was interested he deems this to show that I do not respect his authority and if this 'problems' continue he will have to look at things more formally. Thereby setting the groundwork........

 

 

Andie x

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Hi Andie,

 

I certainly never meant for you to directly ask him regarding the subject access report - apologies if that was the case.

 

I can only suggest what is mentioned above about being squeaky clean is a good idea, additionally if this manager is so indiscreet as to discuss confidential issues with a 'crowd' there is nothing stopping you keeping notes! In fact I would say from this point on keep notes on your work too.

 

If you are heavily governemental as you say then it would probably take some serious error on your side to lose you job outright. However if you aren't in the union join one. It might be prudent to have a look at your organizations monitoring and disciplinary procedures. I ended up in my current position because I was too nice/foolish at the first meeting and didn't have a rep with me. Never again!

 

Hx

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Thank you I definitely want to do a SAR as I'm convinced an ulterior motive is absolutely behind this. It is very clear he does not like me. I suppose a positive is that my previous reviews with my prior manager show nothing but positives.

 

So in doing a SAR do I send it to the head of HR or big boss of the organisation and do I amend it to specifically ask for this as otherwise I think my chances of him offering it or HR even knowing he has one are zilch?

 

Many thanks

 

Andrea

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andi,

 

I would suggest that the reason he is doing this is to provide concrete evidence in the case there is any likelihood of disciplinary proceedings, dismissal, redundancy etc. It covers his back if he can show an extended period of poor performance. To be honest, this is a legitimate management tool and is used by managers in a large number of companies.

 

You need to assume that he is watching your every action at work and act accordingly ie don't give him any reason to complain about your behaviour. If, as he says, he is also keeping notes on your other colleagues then you being squeaky clean will mean that he will concentrate on those others that aren't.

 

Believe me, I have worked for a number of very large, household name, companies and this sort of behaviour is not uncommon.

 

To be honest with you I have been on the wrong end of this sort of thing before and it does mean that your manager has an issue with you. However, on the other hand, if all he has on you in a negative light in the last 6 months is this one instance then, I would suggest, that's not very much to worry about.

 

It's very hard to give any meaningful advice without knowing the whole situation but you do need to consider first of all your current relationship with your manager and how this request might affect things if you pursue it.

 

Hope this helps.

 

 

 

 

Giggins,

 

Sorry, but I do have a few issues with your post:-

 

[/font]

 

Sorry but have you ever read the Human Rights Acts or the European Convention on Human Rights?

 

From the above quote, I would guess that the answer is no.

 

For the benefit of others reading this, I will include the relevant article here:-

 

 

 

After reading the above, I would just like to ask, how does your comment:-

 

 

 

bear any relation to the OP's situation. How can his actions in the workplace be described as his 'private and home life'?

 

To give you a couple of examples where Article 8 was successfully used. The prison service used to open letters between prisoners and their lawyers. This was challenged on the grounds of legal privilege and under Artilce 8. It was held that it was a breach of the prisoners' Article 8 rights for the prison service to do this and so it was stopped.

 

There was another group of offenders where the police were trying to get around the necessity of getting a search warrant but, again, the court decided that this was illegal under other laws and also a breach of their article 8 rights.

 

To suggest that keeping a record of an employee's actions in the workplace is a breach of his article 8 rights is clearly absurd.

 

 

 

 

 

Sorry, but what is capricious about recording things that happened?

 

Also, what power is he delegating and who is he delegating it to? - that is just meaningless

 

 

 

 

 

Why is he being disingenuous? Keeping notes on employee's behaviour is not disingenuous.

 

 

 

 

If you try doing this then I really would start looking for a new job straight away and you can forget getting a good reference from them.

 

 

 

 

 

It would help if you actually read what the OP actually said. The manager did NOT

 

 

 

the OP quite clearly states that this happened during a 'job review' which, from the terminology he uses, I would suggest is part of the policies and procedures of the company. I would suggest that it would help if you read things properly before posting anything suggesting that he should take such extreme measures.

 

 

 

 

Oh no he's not.

 

 

Please do be very careful before posting these sorts of suggestions. I would suggest that if the OP followed your suggestions then he would be in a much worse position.

 

Nicklea - it is evident from the subsequent posts this user has submitted on this thread, that s/he believes the manager in question does in fact have an ulterior motive - and as such, the aggrieved employee fully intends to invoke the grievance procedure, as I have suggested.

 

"Thank you I definitely want to do a SAR as I'm convinced an ulterior motive is absolutely behind this."

 

Therefore, I stand by my post, and what is stated within it - that the information is justified and accurate, not as you aver.....

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