Our Operations Manager, Phil Bagnall, blogs about an important GDPR issue:
“It must have happened to you at some time. The phone rings. A member of staff answers and after a few moments says “Sorry, he’s on the sick. Can I help?” If that doesn’t make you cringe then you are missing an important point: unless the absent staff member has given you permission to tell others that he is unwell you are almost certainly in breach of data protection laws. You simply cannot disclose personal, sensitive information especially when it relates to someone’s health.
Similarly with staff who have left. You need permission from them if you wish to disclose where they went or why they left. If they left under a cloud – perhaps they could not get out of bed in the mornings – do not be drawn into a discussion about any rumours the caller may have heard. And be careful with new staff. You should never announce a new appointment until you have a reference that is acceptable to you, you have undertaken the necessary vetting, e.g. DBS and educational qualification checks, and both you and your new recruit have signed a contract of employment.
The secret, of course, is to train your staff. If someone is ill and absent and the caller wants to know when they will be back then deflect the query by suggesting that you may be able to find someone else to deal with them. Staff have rights. Make sure everyone in your organisation is aware of them.”
If you are a North Tyneside-based voluntary and community sector organisation, and would like to receive a copy of our free GDPR toolkit, please get in touch.