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You can now find out everything your boss has ever said about you

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Susan Devaney
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From 25 May you can ask your employer for all of the data they hold you – including what your boss has said about you. 

From being given the less-than-desirable tasks to ‘accidentally’ being left out of important work meetings, if you’ve had any doubt or suspicions as to whether or not your boss values your output, there may now be a simple way to find out.

As of 25 May, the General Data Protection Regulation will come into play, meaning that anyone can ask a company to share the data they hold on them – including your employer.

It’s basically like being given access to every conversation your employer – or colleagues – have ever had about you.

The one and only catch? You must live in Europe.

If you do live in a European country then all you need to do is file a ‘subject access request’ by email or letter, and your company will have 30 days to collect a cache about all the information they have stored on you. We’re talking any email that mentions you, all performance reviews, job interviews, payslip records, absence records, disciplinary records, computer access logs, CCTV footage, and recordings of phone calls to, from or about that person.

And if the company deletes any data in a move to prevent disclosure, it can be liable for criminal sanctions. 

The one and only catch? You must live in Europe.

Technically, the law is not entirely new. This request has been available to individuals under existing European data protection rules, but GDPR now makes it a lot easier to file the request in the first place. Firstly, there is now no cost involved (UK companies could previously charge £10). Secondly, companies now have less time to collect the data, reducing it from 40 days to 30. And now, companies who fail to comply will be subjected to very harsh penalties.

But if you’re wondering if the data collated will also involve other people in the same company, it won’t. Companies responding to a subject access request must not under any circumstances include another employee’s personal information.

This type of request is obviously very beneficial to someone going through a dispute with their employer. However, the GDPR is not intended for disgruntled employees.

However, like most things in life, there are exceptions to the rule. Companies don’t have to hand over information relating to trade secrets, management issues (like restructuring or redundancies), any communications involving lawyers, health records or personal data that relates to criminal justice or taxation.

If you’re on the hunt for something new because of a bad boss or change of scenery then have a look at LinkedIn’s top companies to work for in 2018 for some inspiration, before filing one. 

Images: Getty / Unsplash 

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Susan Devaney

Susan Devaney is a digital journalist for Stylist.co.uk, writing about fashion, beauty, travel, feminism, and everything else in-between.

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