This case is about:

  • recording personal opinions; and
  • accuracy of personal information.

Mr C was having a difficult time at work with his line manager. He attended various meetings to discuss his performance and felt he was being unfairly treated. He therefore asked to move teams and was about to start work in a new area of the business when his transfer request was blocked.

Mr C made a subject access request to find out what his manager had said about him at a meeting that was held to discuss staff transfers. When he saw the meeting notes he was upset because he felt they contained inaccurate information about him. Mr C’s manager had said that his interpersonal skills were poor, he had a tendency to rub people up the wrong way and that he had taken a certain amount of sick leave.

Mr C complained and asked for his employer to take the report off his personnel file. His request was refused and so he contacted us for advice.

We explained to Mr C that he should inform his employer of the inaccuracies relating to his sick leave but the view expressed by his manager about his ability to get on with others was a statement of opinion rather than fact. Opinions are naturally subjective, and depend on the understanding and experiences of the individual concerned. The fact that someone else might hold a different opinion does not make the first opinion inaccurate. However, we advised Mr C that, if he disagreed with the opinions stated by his manager, he should ask his employer to put a note on the report to make it clear that he strongly disagreed with its contents.

After receiving our advice Mr C contacted his employer and it became apparent his line manager had been mistaken about the amount of sick leave Mr C had taken. Mr C’s employer ensured that his personnel file recorded the correct amount of sick leave. His employer also confirmed that they had added a note to the report to show that Mr C disagreed with the opinions that his manager had expressed about him.