Employer sharing personal information with other employees in the UK

Most employee handbooks have cautionary statements about workplace confidentiality rules. Standard warnings strongly suggest that only employees refrain from disclosing or misusing proprietary data, insider information, and trade secrets. However, employers are also expected to maintain strict confidentiality regulations too. They would be privy to information such as employee performance, salary, or medical-related issues. Employers should always avoid engaging in discussions about their employees with their colleagues, with certain exceptions.

In this article, we’ll take a closer look at this specific issue.

Employers speaking to employees about other co-workers

Employers have lots of information about their employees, ranging from medical conditions, bank details and salary. This is one reason why it has become so crucial for employers to foster a workplace culture that respects the private lives of staff and their data. Both these aspects should remain secure and confidential. Furthermore, aside from adhering to the rules set by GDPR, such actions will benefit your business for years to come.

As an employer, you must know how to properly take care of your employees’ information and engage in the best data protection practices.

What is employee personal data?

When people talk about personal data in a company structure, it refers to any information that could identify a particular employee. It might include:

  • Name
  • Address
  • Financial information
  • Medical records
  • Relationship status

Personal data also includes emails involving specific employees, sick leave records, personal documents and different types of employee contracts.

The term ‘employee’ encompasses the following:

  • Agency staff
  • Current and former staff
  • Contractors
  • Casuals or part-time staff

Impacts of GDPR on sharing of employee information

The introduction of GDPR led to the tightening of regulations related to consent, personal information, and sensitive data. Employers who want consent from someone at work must demonstrate that the employee positively opted in. So, any form of consent using elements such as pre-ticked boxes is no longer permitted. The consent must be clear and in writing. Furthermore, the employer should not ask for consent via another document, such as an employment contract, when an individual is accepting a job offer.


Employers wanting to implement reasonable data protection policies must nurture trust amongst staff with a transparent working environment. Due to new policies, employers must delete out of date information, which frees up filing systems, and makes finding information a lot more efficient.

For reliable legal advice, contact Harper James Solicitors with startup lawyers in London and all over the UK ready to help you.

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