Under the new law, employers will need to consider employee privacy, disconnection rights, personal data, and other factors.

The Senate of Spain has approved the Draft Organic Law on the Protection of Personal Data and Guarantee of Digital Rights ("LOPD") which adapts national legislation to the General Regulation on Data Protection of the European Union, in force since last May.

In addition to the expected impact of the new regulations on labour relations, it is necessary to highlight that the LOPD establishes new specific labour rights and obligations for employers in its Title X "Guarantees of digital rights":

  • Right to privacy in the use of digital devices: Employees shall have the right to the protection of their privacy in the use of the digital devices their employer makes available to them, the latter being able to access their content solely for the purpose of controlling compliance with labour or statutory obligations and guaranteeing the integrity of said devices, establishing criteria for their use (art. 87 LOPD).

  • Right to digital disconnection: Employees have the right to "digital disconnection", meaning that they can turn off digital devices outside working hours, being unreachable. The job position and circumstances of employment must be taken into account to determine the possibilities for the employee to exercise this right. Employers will implement internal policies to define the modalities of exercise and the training and sensitization actions regarding reasonable use of the technological tools (art. 88 LOPD).

  • Right to privacy from the use of video surveillance and sound recording devices in the workplace: Images obtained by camera systems or video cameras to control employees may be processed by employers, provided that certain legal requirements and limits are respected. Systems for the recording of sounds will only be admitted for safety purposes and always respecting certain principles and guarantees (art. 89 LOPD).

  • Right to privacy in case of geolocation system use: The data obtained through GPS systems may be processed by employers for the exercise of control functions, provided they are exercised within their corresponding legal framework and inherent limits. Employers must previously expressly, clearly and unequivocally inform employees about the existence of such devices as well as the possible exercise of rights of access, rectification, limitation of treatment and deletion (art. 90 LOPD).

  • Digital rights in collective bargaining: Collective bargaining may establish additional guarantees in relation to the processing of personal data and the safeguarding of digital rights in the labour sphere (art. 91 LOPD).

The LOPD will take effect the day after its publication in the Official State Gazette Boletín Oficial del Estado.

In light of the new digital rights, employers should review current policies and practices and consider adapting both to the new regulations. Likewise, these new rights will have to be taken into account in collective bargaining.