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GDPR for HR – Special categories of data

Data relating to an employee’s racial or ethnic origin, political opinions, religious beliefs, health data or trade union membership, which were previously known as ‘sensitive data’ are now known as ‘special categories of data’.

They also include genetic data and biometric data but also have wider grounds for health and healthcare management.

Explicit consent

For these categories of data, explicit consent is required for the processing of this data. Employers must rely on one of the following lawful reasons for obtaining and processing this data:

  • Carrying out employment rights and obligations
  • Protecting the vital interests of the employee or another person
  • Establishing, existing and defending legal claims
  • Promoting equality of treatment provided policies are in place
  • Assessing employees’ working capacity

Click here to read our series of briefings on GDPR for HR professionals.

For more information or guidance, please get in touch with:

Sejal Raja
Partner and Head of Employment
T. 020 7227 7410


This briefing is for guidance purposes only. RadcliffesLeBrasseur LLP accepts no responsibility or liability whatsoever for any action taken or not taken in relation to this note and recommends that appropriate legal advice be taken having regard to a client's own particular circumstances.

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