Temperature checks in the workplace

Jun 04, 2020

When I return to work my employer would like to take my temperature – do I have to agree?

Your employer does not need consent as it’s in the Legitimate Interest of an employer to control the spread of the virus in the workplace. Employers are expected to maintain much higher security and confidentiality around health information they collect, including COVID-19 symptoms and temperature measurements, however notwithstanding all this, they are allowed to process health information for occupational health and workplace health and safety.

As your employer will be processing information that relates to an identified or identifiable individual, they will need to comply with the GDPR and the Data Protection Act 2018. So will need to handle the data lawfully, fairly and transparently. Your temperature information will be classed as Health Data which is a ‘Special category’, so it must be even more carefully protected.

Where possible your employer should have clear and accessible privacy information in place before any health data processing begins, however it goes without saying that the impact of COVID-19 has been unprecedented and in these exceptional times that may not be possible.

Before carrying out any tests, your employer should let you know what personal data is required, what it will be used for, and who they will share it with. They should also let you know how long they intend to keep your data for. You should also have the opportunity to discuss any of your concerns directly with your employer before any testing takes place.

Please reach out to us at do-more@xynics.com or by phone on 01604 807120 if you are at all uncertain about your legal obligations or need any advice on how to keep your data safe and secure. We are happy to help in these difficult times.

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