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Privacy notice 017 - grievances and employment complaints, including whistleblowing

This notice is one of a set which explain what data we collect, store and process to provide our services to customers. It also sets out the legal basis we are using for collecting the data stated.

It should be read alongside our overall privacy notice and the breach process, which sets out what we will do should any data we collect be lost or misused.

What data does this notice cover?

This notice covers personal data that we collect and generate as part of the operation of our grievance, bullying and harassment and whistleblowing procedure processes. 

If you raise a concern with us, in a form of a grievance or a complaint or as a whistleblowing disclosure, the matter will be investigated in accordance with the appropriate process.

Our legal basis

When we receive a complaint, grievance or disclosure about you or relating to you, we will begin an investigation process under the appropriate procedure. If we have a suspicion of misconduct or illegality, the investigation process will constitute a ‘legitimate interest’ basis for processing your data.  This means that personal and identifiable records could be created about you and actions you have taken whilst employed by us.

If you raise a complaint with us, we will seek your consent to take steps, which may include a formal investigation process. 

Type of data collected

If the complaint, grievance or disclosure is about you or relates to you, type of data collated will vary from case to case but may include:

  • Attendance and pay and appraisal data (where held by the Authority)
  • Email and other electronic documents and records
  • Written documentation, including correspondence with you and records of meetings with you 
  • Photographic, video and sound recordings
  • Decision logs
  • Feedback including allegations from the public and other agencies
  • Statements from you as an employee and from other employees and from third parties
  • Information relating to alleged or actual criminal offences that have been committed.
  • Information concerning your health or that of third parties
  • Legal or other professional advice from our third-party suppliers.

If you raise a complaint, grievance or disclosure with us, these examples may include: 

  • Records of meetings held with you, as part of the appropriate internal investigation process 
  • Any support offered to you during this process, which may include specialist referrals 
  • Written documentation, including correspondence

If the complaint, grievance or disclosure is about you or if it relates to you, type of data which may be created may include:

  • An investigation file
  • Reports about you and your actions
  • References and statements from other employees and from third parties about you
  • Legal or other professional advice or reports
  • Medical advice or reports
  • Records of the outcome of the process, any remedial actions to be taken and any sanctions placed on you or other employees, such as warnings, hearing outcomes or dismissal notifications, appeal and outcome. 

If you are a complainant, types of data which may be created may include: 

  • Your initial compliant, grievance or disclosure 
  • An investigation report
  • Your statement or further information obtained from you 
  • Record of the outcome of the process and/or appeal.

Who might we share your data with?

Information collated will be collated by the assigned investigating officer. Data may by shared internally in accordance with established procedures and with human resources as part of the investigation. If the investigation reveals criminal actions, we may pass this information to the police for investigation or receive information from the police. We may share information with doctors, occupational health advisers or with legal advisers or other professional advisers where required by the circumstances of the case. We may share information with your trade union where you request that we should do so. In certain circumstances we may share information with the Disclosure and Barring Service.

Where is the data stored?

If the grievance or complaint is against you, your personal data related to concluded grievance or complaint procedures will be retained in the Authority’s document management system which is located on our premises. Access is limited to of the relevant staff in Human Resources that are responsible for internal investigations.

We will not retain data in relation to investigations into complaints which are found to be unproven or where we decide not to take further action. Although we may preserve sufficient data for the sole purpose of showing that a fair procedure was followed.

If you raise a grievance or complaint with us, we will retain the outcome letter showing that we dealt with the matter appropriately and according to our procedures.  

How long will we hold your data for?

Data related to investigations which are found to be unproven or no action taken is destroyed immediately after the case is closed. 

If the grievance or complaint leads to a disciplinary sanction, this record will be retained according to the Data Privacy Notice – discipline investigations. 

Data relating to all grievances is stored for a period of 6 years from the date of the conclusion of the grievance and any appeal. After this period we will store data relating to the nature of the grievance, its outcome and copies of the transcript of the grievance hearing and any appeal for the period of six years from the termination of your employment with us.  We may extend this period only where it is legally appropriate for us to do so.

What are my rights?

You have the right of access to any data we hold which identifies you. You can ask to see it by making a subject access request.

We do not charge for making a subject access request.

Sharing data with Kent Police and other enforcing agencies is a legal duty placed upon us, and you cannot remove your consent to us doing so.

If you want to amend any data we hold about you, or query why we hold it, please email dataprotection@kent.fire-uk.org or use the details on our contact us page.

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