COVID-19: Relevant considerations related to data protection and telework

May 1, 2020

Law No. 126 of 2020 which regulates teleworking in the Republic of Panama contemplates data protection regulations creating an additional control to that established under Law No. 81 of 2019 (“Law No. 81”) on personal data protection. The latter will enter into force end of March 2021.

Employer’s Obligations:

Article 16 establishes the following obligations for the employer:

  • Inform the teleworker about the company’s internal policies and regulations on data protection, for purposes of the information that is used and processed. As established as well by Law No. 81, the obligation to have the necessary procedures and protocols for the security and protection of personal data;
  • Inform the teleworker of all restrictions on the use of computer hardware and software, as well as the penalties that will apply;
  • Inform the teleworker of the placement of any control system, which must be proportional to the objective that seeks to be protected and may not include mechanisms that violate the personal or family privacy of the teleworker or third parties;
  • Inform the teleworker from the beginning of the working relationship, the furniture, and the necessary software for the work tasks, as well as the responsibilities regarding them; and
  • Provide, install, and maintain the equipment required for teleworking, as well as provide the technical support service.

Teleworker’s Obligations:

Additionally, Article 17 establishes the following obligations for the teleworker:

  • Compliance with the data protection regulations and its restrictions, always maintaining the confidentiality of the information;
  • Keep and safeguard the equipment, computer tools and software provided by the employer, safely and away from access by persons not authorized by the employer; and
  • Immediately communicate to the company about any loss, robbery, theft, or other improper use of equipment and software from the manner provided for in its internal regulations.