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What are you (not) allowed to communicate about a former employee under the GDPR?

Publications | Employment Law Team

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Recently, the Belgian Data Protection Authority (the DPA) has ruled again on a communication that an employer had put on its intranet to inform its staff of the departure of an employee. The employer had communicated that the employment contract had been terminated by the employer with immediate effect.

The employee concerned took offence. She felt that this communication gave the appearance that she had been dismissed for gross misconduct.

The DPA agreed with this. The DPA confirmed that an employer has the right to communicate when an employee has left the company. The GDPR provides a legitimate basis for this.

However, according to the DPA, stating that the employer had dismissed her, as well as the immediate departure went beyond what was necessary to achieve the purpose. Indeed, personal data processing must be minimal.

The employer received a warning from the DPA and had to correct its communication.

In brief: if you want to inform your staff of the departure of an employee, it is best to limit your communication to the bare essentials: the name of the employee and the date of departure.

The same applies when the employer informs third parties of the departure of a former employee, for example in an out-of-office notice.