The fight against the COVID-19 pandemic lead to the deployment of unprecedented responses by states and organizations; from “data against corona” initiatives (i.e., use of “anonymized” and “aggregated” mobile data as part of monitoring the success of in-shelter rules) to employers around the globe eager to protect their workforces and launching corona-investigations (inquiring about personal travels, imposing self-quarantine measures, etc.).
Even more in stretched times, attention shall be paid to the balancing of those initiatives against the fundamental right to privacy of individuals. In this context, many national data protection authorities in the European Union and the United Kingdom issued guidelines on the processing of personal data as part of the COVID-19 crisis in an effort to define what is possible and what is not.
We summarize below the approach taken in relation to three aspects of employee-privacy, namely: the opportunity for employers to request employees to disclose symptoms, the conduct of examination of employees and, finally, the disclosure of affected employees’ identity to peers.
A snapshot is provided for Belgium, France, Germany and the United Kingdom. For a broader review of cybersecurity and data privacy aspects in relation to COVID-19, please read our Legal Update on the subject.
Enjoy the reading.
Diletta De Cicco and Charles Helleputte