All questions

Data protection

i Requirements for registration

Panama does not have a government body that oversees data protection matters, and except for medical and credit or financial information, there is little regulation on the subject. Moreover, particularly, the Labour Code does not contain provisions regulating the protection or privacy of the employees' data. In fact, in recent years there has been a trend for payroll services that deal with employees' salary payments to be outsourced to third-party service providers. There are no restrictions imposed on this practice, and the employees' consent is not required.

Employees' information may be kept or transferred outside the workplace and on servers managed by third-party service providers.

ii Cross-border data transfers

Given that there is a lack of regulation on this subject, there are no restrictions on the transferability of the employees' personal data outside Panama.

iii Sensitive data

Only medical information is considered sensitive and the employee is not obliged to disclose this information to the employer, except – and only if authorised by the employee – for purposes of obtaining private medical or life coverage. This information must be treated with strict confidentiality.

iv Background checks

As a general rule, background checks are allowed. It is customary that potential employers independently verify the information provided by potential employees on work applications relating to former employment, personal references and academic background, for which the employees' consent is not required. In addition, credit and criminal record checks are also allowed; however, both require the applicant's written authorisation.