You may want to submit a Subject Access Request (SAR) to your employer if you believe you have been treated unfairly at work. This is a way of ‘looking behind the scenes’. It will help understand what has been written about you and any concerns relating to you.
In fact, your employer may have to disclose incriminating evidence to you (perhaps internal emails or HR guidance). This could strengthen your negotiating position. It could even persuade your employer to reach a compromise with you or offer a Settlement Agreement to resolve your concerns.
Under the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), you have a ‘right of access’ to all data held on you by your employer. Since May 2018, the information you seek in your Subject Access Request should be provided to you free of charge.
How to submit a DSAR
Your should address your letter to your employer’s Data Protection Officer. But if you don’t know who that is, we recommend you address it to the Head of HR.
In all letters you should:
- Confirm your home address to where the information you are requesting should be sent.
- Where appropriate, the contact details of your representative. Your employer can liaise with this person if they have any questions or concerns relating to your request.
- Record the date of your request.
- State that the data you are seeking must be provided within one month of the date of your request.
- Provide your staff number if you have one.
A generic sample letter produced by the Information Commissioner’s Office is available here.
What to ask for
To increase the chances of finding the information you are seeking, be specific about your requirements.
For Subject Access Requests concerning a problem at work, you may well want to specify that the data you are requesting should include:
- All notes (whether in handwritten, paper or digital form) mentioning or relating to you, which have been made or received by any members of your employer’s staff concerning meetings at which you have been mentioned.
- Any emails or other correspondence (whether in handwritten, paper or digital form) mentioning or relating to you – but not received directly by you – sent or received by any members of your employer’s staff.
- Any other documentation, including but not limited to HR case notes (whether in handwritten, paper or digital form), held by your employer that mention or are in any way connected to you.
You may also wish to narrow the search to focus on what you may think is most relevant:
- Specifying dates between which your request applies
- Identifying the subject matter about which you are most interested
- The types of communication you are interested in.
- Listing names of individuals who you think might be most involved in your case.
If the information is provided outside of the time limit, or you believe it is incomplete, you can make a complaint to the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO).
WRS can assist you with completing your Subject Access Request.
We will help maximise the chance of finding information that is most helpful to securing a fair deal for you, whatever your concerns. The exact timing of your request can also be important in ‘hoovering up’ all the information useful to your case.
And with our support, you can use this information most effectively to reach a satisfactory resolution to your concerns.