Those of you who know us well, will be aware that Bonallack and Bishop like to use photos of our people – most of our lawyers and senior support staff have their photos on both our main website, along with both professional and personal information, and on their business cards. We think it makes sense – after all people buy people – and given how much legal services cost, it’s critical that you feel comfortable talking with the lawyer you have appointed..
Some staff don’t want their photo featured on a website – what can we do?
But what happens if staff object? Well, for once, law and common sense are the same.
Broadly, taking a photo of an employee for official use counts as “personal data” under the 1998 Data Protection Act. As a result it cannot be used for any purpose for which it was originally obtained, without the express agreement of the employee – preferably in their written and signed employment contract. So, without your employees consent, you simply can’t put their photo on your fancy new website – however, if they weren’t happy, you wouldn’t really want to – would you?
One partial way round the question of employees refusing to let you use their photo for marketing purposes is to cover it in any data protection policy you use – providing perhaps a blanket consent for you to hold and use the personal data of all of your employees for “employment and marketing purposes.” Alternatively providing consent for using their photo online could be an intrinsic part of any job offer.
But really, if an employee really doesn’t want their photo used, our advice is very simple – don’t force them.
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