Employees will soon have the right to check their personal records, including those held on manual filing systems. Previously, they were entitled to inspect only computer records.
The new Data Protection Act makes employers responsible for telling staff what information is kept about them, how it is used and of their right to see it. They will also need workers' consent before they can collect and record personal details. Workers will be able to de-mand that inaccurate information is corrected or removed from files, and to get a court order against any employer who fails to do so.
The Act will be implemented gradually: workers will not gain full rights of access to records until next year or possibly later.