Employee is Entitled to Inspection of Employer’s Personnel File but not to Internal Notes

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Supreme Court, 8th February 2013, www.rechtspraak.nl, LJN: BY4196


Under the Personal Data Protection Act everyone has the right to apply to and request another person to inform him if personal data concerning him are processed by this other person. If so, the other person has to define in his response: the purpose of processing these personal data; the categories of data to which the processing relates; the recipient of these data and the origin of these data.
When an employee asked her employer (a bank) for a full list and copies of all her personal data, the employer did not respond within the statutory period of four weeks. The employee thereupon lodged an appeal at the Court with the intention to sentence the employer to still provide the requested list. During the proceedings, the employer provided the requested information, but concealed internal notes. This was not what the employee wanted and then proceedings started up to the Supreme Court about the question whether the employee was also entitled to inspect the internal notes. Earlier the Court had ruled that the employee was not entitled to the internal notes, for as far as they are only meant for internal consideration and consultation, but that any final report made up with these notes comes under the right to inspection. In further appeal the Supreme Court confirmed the Court’s judgment.


It is pretty exceptional that employees appeal to the right to inspection under the Personal Data Protection Act in order to get the personnel file of their employer. Yet, employees do have this right. The judgment of the Supreme Court shows, however, that this is not the way how employees can inspect internal notes of the employer.

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