Watson Thomas Solicitors GDPR Privacy Notice For Applicants
Watson Thomas Limited (the Firm, us or we) are data controllers or joint data controllers for the purposes of data protection law and are responsible for processing personal information about you. We are committed to complying with data protection law and protecting the privacy and security of your personal information.
This notice describes how and why we collect and use personal information about you during the application and recruitment process and you should read this carefully to understand how we handle your personal information.
This Privacy Notice, which applies to all applicants for all roles with Watson Thomas Limited does not form part of any contract we may have with you and may be amended by us from time to time. This Privacy Notice does not in any way change the status of your relationship with us and is not an indication of employment or any contractual obligations between us.
What information do we hold about you?
Personal data, or personal information, means any information about an individual from which that person can be identified.
We may collect, store, and use some or all of the following categories of personal information about you, some of which may have been provided to us in relation to your application:
- Personal and contact details such as name, title, addresses, telephone numbers, and personal email addresses.
- Date of birth.
- Marital status and dependants
- Next of kin and emergency contact information Current or previous salary, annual leave, pension and benefits information and notice period in current employment.
- Location of current employment / workplace.
- Copies of right to work documentation and other identification documentation and/or utility bills.
- References (including current and previous employment and/or academic or personal references).
- Notes of interviews.
- If you are offered employment, information contained in credit and/or criminal record and/or sanctions check forms and results.
- Education and training records.
- Employment records (including job titles, work history, working hours, training records and professional memberships).
- Compensation history.
- Photographs if you have included those in your CV or other application documents.
- Any information relating to regulatory (eg Solicitor Regulatory Authority) or other professional memberships.
- CCTV records and other monitoring (eg visitor records) are held by some of our building managers and may be provided to us for purposes related to our business.
- Information about your personal devices through your use of our wifi.
- Other publicly available information about you.
- Any other personal data provided by you as part of the application / recruitment process.
We may also collect, store and use the following special categories of more sensitive personal information (Special Categories) to the extent that you voluntarily share that information with us during the recruitment process:
- Information about your race or ethnicity, religious beliefs, sexual orientation and political opinions.
- Trade union membership.
- Information about your health, including any medical condition, health and sickness records.
- Information about criminal convictions and offences.
How is this information collected?
We collect personal information about you through the application and recruitment process, both directly from you and from recruitment agencies and background check providers.
If we offer you employment we will also collect additional information from third parties which may include former employers, credit reference and criminal record agencies, education and training providers, other employees or contractors and your employment referees.
How do we use this information?
Our legal basis for using your personal information
We need the categories of information in the list above (at paragraph 2) to allow us to:
- comply with legal obligations; and
- pursue legitimate interests of our own (for example, in furtherance of our own business) or third parties’ legitimate interests.
We may also use your personal information in the following situations, which are likely to be rare:
- Where we need to protect your interests (or someone else’s interests).
- Where it is needed in the public interest or for any official purposes.
How we may use your personal information
The types of situations in which we may process your personal information are listed below:
- Making a decision about your recruitment.
- Determining the terms on which you work for us.
- Carrying out background, reference and other checks.
- Checking you are legally entitled to work in the UK or any other jurisdiction in which you may be offered work.
- Reimbursing expenses to you, if offered by us as part of the recruitment process.
- Keeping records related to our recruitment process.
- Contacting you in relation to future job opportunities that may arise.
Some of the above grounds for processing will overlap and there may be several grounds which justify our use of your personal information.
Please note that we may process your personal information without your knowledge or consent in compliance with the above where this is required or permitted by law.
Special Categories of personal information
When we can use it
Special Categories (see paragraph 2 above) of personal information require higher levels of protection. We may process such information in the following circumstances:
- In limited circumstances, with your explicit written consent.
- Where we need to carry out our legal obligations and in line with our employment and associated policies.
- Where it is needed in the public interest, such as for equal opportunities monitoring and in line with our employment or data protection policies.
- Where it is needed to assess your working capacity on health grounds, subject to appropriate confidentiality safeguards.
Less commonly, we may process this type of information where it is needed in relation to legal claims or where it is needed to protect your interests (or someone else’s interests) and you are not capable of giving your consent (such as a medical emergency), or where you have already made the information public.
How we may use it
We may use Special Categories of personal information in the following ways:
- We may use information about your physical or mental health (which may include information about pregnancies), or disability status, to ensure that we are able to comply with our legal obligations to make reasonable adjustments to our recruitment process in respect of any disability.
We do not need your consent to process your personal data where we have another legal basis to do so, as set out above. However, if we do need to seek your consent to processing, we will provide you with reasonable details of the information that we would like to use and the reason we need it, so that you can carefully consider whether you wish to consent.
You should be aware that it is not a condition of your contract with us that you agree to any request for consent from us and, where you have given consent, this can be withdrawn at any time by contacting the Data Protection Officer.
Information about criminal convictions
We may only use information relating to criminal convictions where the law allows us to do so. This will usually be where such processing is necessary to carry out our legal and regulatory requirements and in assessing an individual’s suitability for a role that, of its nature, requires the firm to take additional precautions.
Where appropriate, we will collect information about criminal convictions as part of the recruitment process but only at the point that you have been conditionally offered a role. We will use information about criminal convictions and offences in connection with any assessment as to your fitness and propriety or any other requirement of the SRA or any other legal or regulatory obligation and therefore in connection with suitability for employment in the role offered to you.
Automated decision making
Automated decision-making takes place when an electronic system uses personal information to make a decision without human intervention.
We are allowed to use automated decision-making in the following circumstances:
- Where we have notified you of the decision and given you 21 days to request a reconsideration of the decision.
- Where it is necessary to perform the contract with you and appropriate measures are in place to safeguard your rights.
- In limited circumstances, with your explicit written consent and where appropriate measures are in place to safeguard your rights.
You will not be subject to decisions that will have a significant impact on you based solely on automated decision-making, unless we have a lawful basis for doing so and we have notified you.
We do not envisage that any decisions will be taken about you using automated means, however we will notify you in writing if this position changes.
Why might you share my personal information with third parties?
We do share your data with third parties, (including third-party service providers and other entities in our group) where required by law or where we have another legitimate interest in doing so including in the administration of our recruitment process.
If we do share data, we require third parties to take appropriate security measures and only process your data for specified purposes.
Which third-party service providers process my personal information?
“Third parties” includes third-party service providers (including contractors and designated agents) and other entities within our group.
In particular, your data may be processed by other entities within our corporate group. We have appropriate arrangements in place to require those additional group entities to protect your personal data in the same way as Watson Thomas Limited.
We may also share your personal information with the SRA and other regulators of legal services for regulatory purposes, including, but not limited to, matters relating to practising certificates.
We do use third party software to manage our recruitment processes and your personal information will be uploaded by you, your recruitment consultant or us onto that software during the application process.
The following activities are carried out by third-party service providers: IT services, professional advisors, recruiters and identification, credit, criminal and sanctions check providers.
We have put in place appropriate security measures to prevent your personal information from being accidentally lost, used or accessed in an unauthorised way, altered or disclosed.
We also have procedures to deal with any suspected data security breach and will notify you and any applicable regulator of a suspected breach where we are legally required to do so.
Our intention is to retain your personal information for only as long as necessary to fulfil the purposes for which we collected it, including for the purposes of satisfying any legal, accounting, or reporting requirements.
To determine the appropriate retention period for personal data, we consider the amount, nature, and sensitivity of the personal data, the potential risk of harm from unauthorised use or disclosure of your personal data, the purposes for which we process your personal data and whether we can achieve those purposes through other means, and the applicable legal requirements.
If you are not successful in being offered employment but we consider that we may want to contact you in relation to a future position, we may ask you if we may retain your details for a further limited period and contact you during that time about any suitable roles that may become available. It is your choice whether you consent to this request or not.
Rights of access, correction, erasure, and restriction
Your duty to inform us of changes
It is important that the personal information we hold about you is accurate and current. Please keep us informed if your personal information changes during the recruitment process.
Your rights in connection with personal information
Under certain circumstances, by law you have the right to:
- Request access to your personal information (commonly known as a “data subject access request”). This enables you to receive a copy of the personal data we hold about you and to be told about how that information has been collected and used.
- Request correction of the personal data that we hold about you. This enables you to have any incomplete or inaccurate information we hold about you corrected.
- Request erasure of your personal information. This enables you to ask us to delete or remove personal information where there is no good reason for us continuing to process it.
- Object to processing of your personal information where we are relying on our own legitimate interests (or those of a third party) and there is something about your particular situation which makes you want to object to processing on this ground.
- Request the restriction of processing of your personal information. This enables you to ask us to suspend the processing of personal information about you, for example if you want us to establish its accuracy or the reason for processing it.
- Request the transfer of your personal information to another party.
- Withdraw consent for the processing of your personal information. In the limited circumstances where you have provided your consent to the collection and processing of special category personal data you may wish to withdraw your consent. If you notify us of such withdrawal we will no longer process that personal information unless we have another legitimate basis for doing so.
You will not usually have to pay a fee to access your personal information (or to exercise any of the other rights). However, we may charge a reasonable fee if your request for access is clearly unfounded or excessive. Alternatively, we may refuse to comply with the request in such circumstances.
How you exercise these rights
Any request in relation to any of the above rights should be directed to the Data Protection Officer.
What we may need from you
We may need to request specific information from you to help us confirm your identity and ensure your right to access the information (or to exercise any of your other rights). This is another appropriate security measure to ensure that personal information is not disclosed to any person who has no right to receive it.
Further questions or complaints
If you have any questions about this privacy notice or how we handle your personal information, please contact the Data Protection Officer.
You have the right to make a complaint at any time to the Information Commissioner’s Office, the UK supervisory authority for data protection issues.
Changes to this Privacy Notice
We reserve the right to update this Privacy Notice at any time and any substantial updates will be communicated to you at that time. We may also notify you in other ways from time to time about the processing of your personal information.
Last Review and Update 24 January 2022