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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Law
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Experience:  Qualified Solicitor - Please start your question with 'For Ben Jones'
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Hello - can your employer force you to have your photo taken

Resolved Question:

Hello - can your employer force you to have your photo taken and put on the company website?
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 2 years ago.
Ben Jones :

Hello, my name is ***** ***** it is my pleasure to assist you with your question today.

Ben Jones :

Is this requirement part of your contract or other workplace policy?

Customer:

Hi Ben

Customer:

No, there is nothing in my employment contract that mentions anything about having photos taken or used for publicity/website use

Ben Jones :

How long have you worked there for?

Customer:

13 years!. We had an email from one of the Directors yesterday (sent to all staff) 'telling' us that as part of the company's new website, this is what they wanted.

Customer:

We were not asked - just told

Ben Jones :

Have you raised this with the employer?

Customer:

Yes, I sent an email back saying that I would prefer not to have my photo on the website. The reply was 'The Directors have decided that they want everyone's photo on the website'. It smacked very much of 'bully boy' approach. I have since replied to say that I want to speak to the Directors personally next week when I am back in the office. I just want to have some valid reasons (legal and otherwise) to prove that the way they have approached this is all wrong. I guess it is typical for a relatively small company (only 15 employees) and no HR department!

Customer:

Are you still there?

Ben Jones :

Generally an employer cannot force you to have your photo taken or displayed and this is something which would often be found in your contract or a policy, to which you would have given your consent. Your photograph will amount to personal data under data protection laws so if you were unhappy with it being taken and displayed you could consider making a formal request to the employer for this not to happen.

What they could argue is that this is a reasonable request by them and your failure to comply would amount to insubordination. This would really depend on the reasons why they want the photo taken and also your reasons for refusing. You cannot be forced to have the photo taken but it means if you refuse they could then try and take disciplinary action against you. Your rights would then really kick in once this has happened and you know what the outcome is and you decide whether to challenge it or not.

Customer:

Thanks Ben - I guess the point is that although I can understand their reasons (all commercial), there is another part to the story which I haven't told you! I was diagnosed with Breast Cancer just over 5 weeks ago. I have undergone surgery and only just returned to work. I have follow up treatment to deal with in the coming weeks including Chemo and Radiotherapy. My reason for asking for my photo not to be taken at this particular point in my life is because it is just going to be a constant reminder of what is, in reality, a terribly sad time in my life. I won't be able to smile and will probably have tears in my eyes. I have told the Directors the above - they still say they want the photo taken. I consider that showing lack of compassion.

Customer:

*I consider that they are showing a lack of compassion

Ben Jones :

I agree and businesses can often forget the personal aspect of an employee's problem and just concentrate on the business reasons. However, your rights will remain unchanged - as mentioned they cannot force you to have your photo taken and it then really is a matter of how they deal with this afterwards. They may have legitimate reasons for asking for the photo but you also have good reasons to refuse this and they need to be somewhat sensitive about your situation

Customer:

OK - thanks. That is exactly what I was going to say to them when I meet with them next week. Physically I look great but I am just about holding it all together mentally. I won't refuse to have my photo taken if they absolutely insist because I don't want to seem like I am being unco-operative but I will make my points regarding my emotional state as clear as I can without (hopefully) crying too much!! The bosses have absolutely no idea what I am going through - that is their problem, not mine.

Customer:

Hi Ben ....I have to go as I now have an appointment at the hospital for a bone scan. I have book marked your page and will get in touch with you again after my meeting to let you know how it went. Thank you so much for listening - you could teach my bosses a thing or two about being considerate!

Ben Jones :

My pleasure and you are welcome, hope they do find the compassion they currently lack

Customer:

Me too!

Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 46197
Experience: Qualified Solicitor - Please start your question with 'For Ben Jones'
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