The right applies to all interviewees and comes into play under the Data Protection Act 1998, which came into force in October 2001.
For a £10 fee per document, unhappy applicants can request to view the notes before deciding to launch a discrimination case, when previously notes could be accessed only once a case was underway. Employees can also request to view any notes taken during in-house appraisals without giving a reason or proof of discrimination.
But Jenny Wilkes, publicity officer for the Trainee Solicitors' Group, urged law students to view the new powers as a last resort. “It would be more useful to follow the normal route of asking for verbal or written feedback of your [interview] performance,” she said. “Any request to see your employment record should be a reasonable one.
“I'd suggest you don't ask to see your record more than once a year – any more than that and you may start to look paranoid.”