It has been 64 days since the UK officially went into lockdown due to the COVID-19 crisis, with many ‘non-essential’ workers vacating their workplace. In preparation for sending the UK back to work, the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) has issued FAQ-style guidance to assist employers wishing to track and test employees’ symptoms (available here).
Health data is ‘special category data’ under the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and is therefore subject to greater restrictions. Nonetheless, the ICO makes it clear that data protection law does not prevent employers from taking necessary steps to ensure the safety of staff and the public, provided that personal data is handled responsibly and carefully in accordance with the law.
The guidance covers the following specific activities:
- Testing employees for symptoms of COVID-19
- Compiling lists of employees with symptoms or positive diagnoses
- Disclosing positive cases to other employees
- Using temperature checks or thermal cameras in the workplace