Photo on intranet: can your employer make it compulsory?

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You probably recognize the situation: your first working day and they ask you for a photo, or offer to take it for you. Your new employer has an online directory, the intranet where everyone is listed. 

Photo on intranet: can your employer make it compulsory?

Photo on intranet: can your employer make it compulsory?

The idea behind such a directory is simple, it is easier to find colleagues when you can put a face to the name. In large organizations, this is a handy tool. But not everyone likes having their photo on the intranet. And if you are one of those people. What are your options? What are your rights as an employee? I asked this question to lawyer Kim Hendriks of Hendriks Meesteradvies.


Kim, let me get straight to the point: can your employer make it mandatory?

“No, that is certainly not allowed. An employer may only use your photo if you have given explicit permission for this. You must first give permission. They cannot upload your photo before you have given consent. ”


Why is it not allowed? Isn’t it a useful tool for a company, a straightforward way for colleagues to get in touch with each other?

Sure, it’s a useful tool for a business. But you also have to deal with GDPR, the General Data Protection Regulation. According to these European rules, you cannot just put anyone’s identity online. There are in total six reasons to do so: when it concerns a legitimate interest, when necessary for a task carried out in the public interest under EU or national legislation, to protect the vital interests of an individual, a legal obligation, a contractual obligation, or with consent.

In this case, there is no valid reason for an employer to put your photo, which falls under special personal data, online. And so it is only allowed based on point six, and that is when you give permission. ”


Yet I can imagine that people find it difficult to refuse. It could have consequences …

“Your employer may not force you, and neither may he blackmail you. They cannot say that you will not be promoted, will not be permitted to follow a course, or will not receive a salary increase. Refusing to have your photo on the intranet should have no consequences for your career progression within the company. ”

I have had no issue with an employer wanting to put my photo on the intranet, but I can imagine there are people who don’t like it. Perhaps they don’t want to see a photo of themselves online or simply think they don’t look good in photos. Whatever the reason, it is therefore not obligatory to cooperate. And that is always useful to know.

Is your photo on the intranet or have you refused?




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