New EU Data Law Will Change How You Engage with Job Applicants


By Roy Maurer

The European Union’s (EU’s) newly enhanced data protection regulations go into effect May 25. U.S. organizations that want to recruit workers living in the EU will need to understand how the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) applies to them.

Full compliance is expected to be challenging—technology research firm Forrester forecast that 80 percent of organizations will not be compliant by the effective date—but failing to comply could result in fines of up to 4 percent of annual revenue or €20 million, whichever is higher.

“It is critical that recruiting teams and leaders understand how GDPR affects them directly … your business will need to undergo a complete self-assessment,” said Jack Davies, operations lead at recruitment marketing platform Beamery, based in London.

What Is the GDPR?

The GDPR strengthens privacy rules for EU residents, giving them more control over how their data is collected, stored, processed and transferred. The 28 EU member states can enact additional or stricter requirements for processing HR data, and employers must also comply with country-specific labor laws that
regulate when and how HR data can be processed.

It’s not entirely clear how the GDPR will be enforced, explained Carol Umhoefer, data protection and privacy expert and partner in the Miami office of global law firm DLA Piper. But it is certainly comprehensive. The GDPR “applies to every single phase of the data lifecycle, even before the data exists,” she said.

“It includes notices to candidates before or at the time you collect their data [and it] regulates data use and reuse and what to do with data you don’t need anymore. In some cases, you’ll need to appoint a data protection officer or conduct data impact assessments before processing any data.”

It generally applies to all companies—regardless of location—that handle personal information belonging to anyone living within the borders of the EU.

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