5

For the past few months I've been diligently working at a scientific research company doing a job which isn't a good fit for me at all. I've concluded that the best way forward is for me to chalk this up to experience and move on.

The issue is that when Googling my name, I appear on the company website under the employees section along with my job title. The job description (and the job which I originally applied for) had a far more senior title - more befitting to my previous experience. In reality, the actual job is more on the junior scale and I do not wish for future employers to see my profile when I'm going through the interview process as it doesn't line up with my CV - i.e. I want to wipe this job from my employment history.

Under current GDPR legislation, do I have any right to have my profile removed from the company website? I contacted the HR department and they denied my request to have it removed - they claim that all employees are required to have a profile on the website.

  • 1
    Just to confirm from the wording, have you definitely left the company now? You're not on notice period, gardening leave or anything like that? – user34587 Nov 14 '18 at 13:45
  • Your question seems to be about law more than about the workplace. Maybe you´ll get better answer at law.se. Also, does your work-contract state anything about that matter? – Daniel Nov 14 '18 at 13:46
  • I haven't left the company at all. The point is I want to apply for new jobs whilst still working for this company to derisk myself. – PiningForTheFjords Nov 14 '18 at 13:46
  • 3
    GDPR absolutely applies to employee data as much as consumers (it makes no distinction, so long as the data is "personal"). My gut feeling is that your employer does need your opt-in permission to display your personal information (name and job title) on their website. Anecdotal evidence: my own company now requires opt-in permission to display employees names in the credits we ship with our product - as part of GDPR compliance. Which is almost identical in scope/purpose as OPs employer website. Might need law.SE though. – Bilkokuya Nov 14 '18 at 14:30
  • 1
    @Bilkokuya indeed. My company asks everyone every few months for their continued permission to use their name and photo on their website and in publications as a requirement of the GDPR. – jwenting Nov 15 '18 at 10:34
8

DISCLAIMER: I am not a lawyer, I am however familiar with GDPR from an employer's perspective

Under current GDPR legislation, do I have any right to have my profile removed from the company website? I contacted the HR department and they denied my request to have it removed - they claim that all employees are required to have a profile on the website.

Technically yes - under GDPR your name is considered Personally Identifiable Information (PII), and while your employer has a sound "lawful basis" (in GDPR lingo) for having your name and other personal information and processing it they don't have one for displaying it on the website such that would remove your "right to be forgotten". They probably have a "legitimate interest" to do so (i.e. it's for commercial purposes) so they haven't done anything wrong by having it there in the first place (assuming they have done the appropriate documenting of said legitimate interest and PIA where applicable!) but they can't avoid complying with your request for erasure.

That said however I'm not sure this is a hill you want to die on.. saying "I want you to remove my name and job description from your website because it looks bad while I'm trying to find your replacement" is perfectly legitimate and legal, but it's also a great way to torch those bridges and is it worth doing that over this?

If I'm understanding your post correctly the job title/descripion are currently accurate so why not use that as the perfect answer to all your prospective employers when they ask why you're seeking a new job?

I applied for and got a job that was more inline with my prior experience level, unfortunately it morphed into lesser job x and while I understand that these things happen I'd rather be doing more challenging job y, I'm sure when you call [soon-to-be-ex-employer] for a reference they'll be happy to confirm that I joined for more challenging job y but that they were unable to provide it.

It's a reasoning everyone can understand, doesn't bad mouth your soon-to-be-ex-employer and reflects positively on you, and I think it comes over infinitely better than:

I applied for and got a job that was more inline with my prior experience level, unfortunately it morphed into lesser job x and while I understand that these things happen I'd rather be doing more challenging job y, However don't call [soon-to-be-ex-employer] for a reference as they might still be feeling a bit grumpy after I sicced the GDPR on them

  • well, they could probably also consider it necessary to fulfil the employment contract, thus rejecting the request for erasure. It might be a tough stance in court depending on how they argue the display on the website is necessary, but the question is whether one wants to go to court over this. – Frank Hopkins Nov 14 '18 at 15:36
1

I'm not too familiar with the scientific research industry myself, but I'm thinking you could actually use this profile to your advantage.

When asked, in interviews, why you want to leave your current employer, you could simply tell them that you're not satisfied with the position you're currently in and there are no opportunities to advance internally. If I understand properly, that's actually the truth. If they've already Googled you (or if they do so after the interview) and find this profile, it will only reinforce your message that you are not happy where you are and want to move - not because there's anything wrong with you personally - but because your current employer isn't giving you what you need.

Then, you can get into detail about the other parts of your resume to show interviewers why you're qualified for better roles, and really make a point of highlighting the stuff you WANT to do going forward.

1

I do not wish for future employers to see my profile... as it doesn't line up with my CV...
Under current GDPR legislation, do I have any right to have my profile removed?

While I cannot address GDPR legislation, I will strongly suggest that your CV needs to line up with your actual work history close enough that it doesn't look/feel like a lie to an informed reader.

For the past few months I've been... doing a job which isn't a good fit for me [and my] best way forward is [to] move on.

Yep, most of us have a job in our past that we'd like to ghost.

Here are a few things to think about that may be helpful which aren't legal in nature.

On the bright side, they may not find it - many companies here (US) are starting to ban searches of social media because it can expose hiring managers to data which cannot be used for hiring purposes. Not directly relevant in geography or category... but there's hope :-)

I would suggest that it is easier to expect them to know about it and have a plan to address it, than to work to cover it up and have it pop up.
When a hiring person "finds" something that has been covered, their next thought might be "what else is out there?"

Also, it can be a small world - if your potential new boss asks around about you and his brother-in-law's nephew says you work at that company, but the web site says you don't... is that going to look good for you? Maybe they'll think the site isn't up to date (if it has only been a couple months) but maybe they will assume you've been let go. Don't tell me how you'd explain it... because they likely won't ask you.

Most people working at the company that you want your name removed from will wonder why, if they find out about it. I expect they won't conclude that they should promote you nor will they think it is a good time to give you better assignments. People across the pond are different in many ways, so maybe I'm completely off base here.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.