Date: 31/05/2017

Panel on Employee Privacy

Employee Privacy Rights was the subject of a panel, jointly organized by the AmCham HR Forum and the Labour Committee.

Speaking on the importance of employees' guaranteed privacy in the workplace, legal regulations on employee privacy in Serbia and effects of control on employees were the moderator of the panel Tijana Tadić, HR Director at Karanović & Nikolić Law Ofiice, Jelena Danilović, Attorney at Law at Karanović & Nikolić Law Office and AmCham Labour Comittee Chairperson, Marijanti Babić, Attorney at Law at Ernst & Young and AmCham Labour Comittee Vice Chairperson, Dušica Jovičić, G4S Company and Prof. Dr Ostoja Krstić.

Comparing the Law on Labor Records and the Law on Personal Data Protection at the beginning of the panel were highlighted the areas in which it is justified and allowed to keep records in the workplace, especially in the area of safety and health at work. For the employer, it is extremely important to maintain and keep such records because in case of injury it can prove the regularity of its operations and the guaranteed safety of workers. Another form of record keeping is to give written consent to the employee. However, European practices are looking at that kind of agreement in labor relations, especially because employees are presented as the weaker party. In the case that the employer gives such consent, it is obliged to inform an employee about all the details and conditions under which such consent was given. Some of the recommendations that are highlighted were: the internal rules which can reduce uncertainty on both sides and illegal, unjustified or flat-rate restrictions are not possible.

In the second part of the panel, a new regulation on data protection by the European Union (GDPR - General Data Protection Regulation) of which application and adaptation of its conditions is expected in the coming period. Specific characteristics of GDPR are that the EU has a greater interest in its adoption, especially because of extremely high penalties in case of violation of this right. Organizations in Serbia have started to coordinate and operate in accordance with GDPR, although to a much lesser extent than is the case with organizations in the European Union.

On the panel were presented cases in which an employer may knowingly or unknowingly violate the privacy of its employees. As examples were given that the employer can already violate the privacy rights of a potential employee, especially in the process of recruitment and selection of candidates, based on the information provided by the candidate in his biography and the application form or when installing video surveillance for security reasons, which allows the employer control of its workers. These areas need to be further regulated with the aim to protect the interests of both employers and employees.