According to the Polish Personal Data Protection Authority’s interpretation, body temperature checks in workplaces are only allowed when such actions are based on the Chief Sanitary Inspector’s decisions, guidelines or recommendations. They claim that the Chief Sanitary Inspector has the power to introduce additional solutions with regard to sanitary safety. Therefore, according to the Polish Personal Data Protection Authority, the responsibility lies with the Sanitary Inspectorate to decide whether body temperature checks are justified.
However, the National Sanitary Inspector has not issued any guidance with regard to this topic and therefore, according to the Polish Personal Data Protection Authority’s interpretation, implementing measures of this type, at this time, and without a sufficient basis for doing so, could be considered as a violation of the data subject’s rights.
Nevertheless, there are strong legal arguments which can be used to criticize this interpretation. First of all, one should note that according to Article 8a of the Act of 14 March 1985 on the National Sanitary Inspectorate, the Chief Sanitary Inspector or the authorised State Provincial Sanitary Inspectors, may issue guidance specifying the recommended course of action and duties applicable to, among others, employers. This means that employers have their own legal duties with regard to sanitary safety in the workplace, and those duties are primary to the guidelines and recommendations that might be issued to specify their implementation. Consequently, it can be argued that employers are entitled to carry out temperature checks as part of the implementation of their duties, in order to ensure sanitary safety at the workplace, and therefore recommendations or guidelines as such, are not necessary in this regard.
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