Bobby Kerr is back with some expert business advice for SME employers and employees.

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Getting Serious About Data Protection
Firstly this week we look at the topic of data protection, and how it directly affects most (if not all) company employers and employees alike. Pat has got in contact for some advice on a delicate issue regarding data protection and privacy. Pat is concerned that his boss has shared his personal email address with a 3rd party. He has asked the 3rd party where they obtained his email address and they advised him to firstly speak with his boss. Pat has contacted his boss about the situation but has yet to receive a response about what he feels is a breach of his privacy. Pat is wondering what the next best steps would be.
 
Bobby's Advice
This is indeed a very sensitive issue. What I would say from the outset is to have a word with his boss before seeking any legal advice. At the moment, what Pat has been told is merely hearsay. Pat needs to obtain confirmation or evidence that his boss has shared his personal information with a 3rd party. There is no point in accusing his boss on the word of an unknown source. He needs to be explicitly informed and armed with proper facts and data before taking the matter down the legal route. If it is a case that his personal information has been shared with a 3rd party without his knowledge, he may need to look at contacting the data protection commissioner as there is a line that has been crossed. The relationship with his boss has changed, and would need to be addressed through the appropriate channels.
 
Picture This
The next query this week is very interesting, and definitely divides opinion. The question is; should a CV include a photograph, or not?

Bobby's Advice
I know that there may be different schools of thought on this, however I actually do think that is worthwhile including a photograph on your CV. Essentially, your CV acts as a shop window in many respects for potential employers. I do like to see photos included, but I also appreciate that I may be more old-school in my approach. I like to see a good, recent photograph that is well taken. For example, if a potential employer has 4 CV’s in front of them, when making a decision on a new hire and three of them have photos and one doesn’t, I believe that it puts this person at a disadvantage straight away.
It’s probably a human thing as well. People like to make a visual connection between the information on the page, and what the person looks like so that they can build a more complete picture or story. I don’t see any reason why you wouldn’t want to include a photograph, as long as it’s a well taken picture and presents you well. I say go for it.
 
Weekend Working
The final query this week is from Mark and is in relation to excessive working hours. Mark currently works Monday to Friday, however he is also expected to be available work one weekend in every four. These are mostly call outs at the weekend and often would be the case that he would spend a full day or even two days working on the weekend. Because of this, Mark can sometimes work twelve days straight. His query to Bobby is if this is actually legal from an employer’s point of view.
 
Bobby's Advice
There are a number of elements here that need to be considered. Firstly, it comes down to Mark’s contractual obligations to his employers. Mark doesn’t disclose what line of business this relates to, however it should be the case that if Mark is working outside of normal working hours, he should be entitled to time in lieu or at least overtime. I would think that working twelve days straight would be considered excessive, in any capacity and Mark absolutely needs to consult his original contract to see what the agreement is between himself and his employers and to see what his contractual obligations are. In saying this, any reasonable employer should monitor all employee’s working hours to ensure that they are not being over-worked or burned out and should offer either time in lieu or remuneration of some degree.
 
If you have a business or SME related query you would like answered - you can get in touch with Bobby each week by simply sending a short mail to [email protected]
 

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