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Case Notes

Case Notes

This case related to DPP1 - Purpose and manner of collection of personal data

Case No.:2018C10

A company unfairly collected a job applicant’s personal data – DPP1

The Complaint

According to the information given in a recruitment advertisement, the complainant applied to Company A for a clerical post. However, when the complainant attended the selection interview, the interviewer persuaded him to fill in an application form for a sales position of Company B. The complainant considered that Company A used the recruitment for clerk as a pretext for recruiting sales representative by Company B. He therefore made a complaint to this office.


As revealed in the investigation, the selection interview was conducted in the office of Company B by a sales agent of Company B. Job descriptions given in the interview were related to the sales vacancy of Company B, not the clerical post of Company A.

DPP 1(2) under the Ordinance requires a data user to collect personal data by lawful and fair means.

After the PCPD’s intervention, Company B issued a written warning to its staff member conducting the selection interview, and confirmed that he had destroyed the relevant personal data. In addition, Company B also reminded its staff to clearly state the vacancy to be filled and Company B’s identity as the employer when posting job advertisements.

Consequently, the PCPD issued a warning letter to Company B, urging it to take practicable measures to ensure that its staff would not recruit sales agent through misleading means, so as to strictly comply with the requirements of the Ordinance.

Lesson learnt

Job applicants provide their personal data in response to the information detailed in job advertisements. They naturally expect their personal data to be used only for the purpose of processing their applications for the advertised posts. If the advertised post does not actually exist, such collection of personal data may constitute unfair collection under the Ordinance. It is beyond job applicants’ reasonable expectation if the personal data collected from them is subsequently used for persuading them to apply other companies’ jobs.

Recruitment is the first contact between job applicants and employers. Employers should proactively protect job applicants’ personal data, and embrace respecting personal data privacy as an indispensable part of corporate governance. It helps employers portrait themselves as ethical corporates and attract high caliber talents.

(Uploaded in August 2020)

Category : Provisions/DPPs/COPs/Guidelines : Topic/Subject Matter :