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Kenya: Data Protection in Kenya: Employment

16 December 2021
– 2 Minute Read

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When it comes to safeguarding the personal information of employees in Kenya, the Data Protection Act is far-reaching. There are a number of actions employers will need to take in order to comply, as is clear from part two of our podcast series on the Data Protection Act.

Following on part one, which covered consumer protection (available here), the second episode deals with the interplay between the Data Protection Act and Kenya’s employment laws. The facilitator is Irene Fwaya, with Ariana Issaias and Daniel Mwathe as the panellists.

They recommend that, apart from revisiting employment contracts and human resources manuals, employers look at their record-keeping, information technology (IT) policies and information security measures, especially from a privacy perspective. For example, if an employer monitors company communications and the use of company computers, it may well be necessary to address the employee privacy aspects of this in their HR or IT policies.

Companies also have to decide whether or not to appoint a data protection officer – given that this is not mandatory in Kenya – and consider how to go about training their employees on complying with the Data Protection Act.

Daniel suggests that employers prepare an internal policy for employees, containing guidelines such as how long the records department should keep employee information and who in the HR Department should be able to access such information, among others.

Ariana emphasises the importance of employers having a sound understanding of what constitutes sensitive personal information, and their obligations relating to safeguarding this information. Here, a critical issue for employers, particularly multinational companies, is the cross-border transfer of employees’ sensitive personal information.

Although multinational companies usually have group data protection policies that apply to their operations across the board, it is still necessary to check that there is alignment with local employment policies and contracts, Ariana says.

Click here to listen to the podcast.