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Do They Have the Right to Use My Photo on Website?

By: Chris Nickson - Updated: 19 Feb 2017 | comments*Discuss
 
Do They Have The Right To Use My Photo On Website?

Q.

I have a very small issue in the scheme of things, but your advice would be welcome.

Do I have the right to refuse the use of my personel picture on the companies Web Site?

(Mr David Richards, 5 September 2008)

A.

This issue touches on a couple of different areas. The first, and most important, is data protection, and the other is your employee contract.

The Data Protection Act 1998 would seem to apply in this instance. They have a policy on the use of images. Under that, the company would need to obtain your consent before they use your photo, and tell you where it will be used and for what purpose.

Having your picture taken for staff ID is one thing, but having them put it online is another. A staff ID picture that gives you access to buildings and offices can only be used for that purpose without your specific consent, and you should be given the choice, as well as being made aware of any security risks. It doesn’t matter whether the picture is used on the Internet or simply on a company Intranet, you still have to give your specific permission. If you don’t want your picture used, the company should respect your choice.

The whole issue of privacy and data protection in images was highlighted recently when Google announced it was adding Street View photos to its Google Maps. This involves taking pictures on streets, which include cars and people. There has been a debate regarding the use of these pictures without consent, and Google will blur the faces and number plates in order that none of them can be recognised in order to comply with the Data Protection Act.

However, and it can be a big however, there’s also the issue of employee contracts to consider.

Employee contracts – and all employees should have one, even if it’s just very basic – cover the terms of employment. It might be a contract, it might be a handbook, it can even be a verbal agreement. You’ll need to read that carefully to see if you’ve given the company the right to use your photo on their web site. If it’s in there, then, by signing the contract, you’ve given them the right to use the picture. If it’s not in the employee contract, then they’ll need your permission to comply with the Data Protection Act.

This might seem a small matter, but it isn’t. Privacy and data protection, especially breaches of it, have been in the news a lot lately, and need to be taken very seriously indeed.

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A local gym class has used a video of me taking part in a class (with other people) and has put this on social media. I complained and manager said she had verbally asked people if they mind before class started, although none of the people I was with heard this. Now this video is being used within a Facebook feed for a separate company (offering their customers a discount on the gym session I was attending). I am identifiable in the video as facing the camera (but was unaware I was being filmed). Is this allowed? I wasn't impressed with the first video but now another company is using it too.
Anon22 - 19-Feb-17 @ 5:25 PM
My previous employer terminated my full time position due to financial constraints within the company, they then offered and i accepted a part time contract to work for them from home. I signed the PT contract on a Friday and returned it to the company (they never returned a signed copy), they terminated my access to everything on the Monday and didn't say anything to me about my complete termination until the Thursday (3 days later). It has been 3 months since my role was terminates and they are still using my photo, and title in the "meet the team" section of their website. They also have it elsewhere in team shots which i don't care about but im not ok with them using my face and about me blurb as part of their team when they chose to terminate me. I will email the CEO about requesting my photo and title to be removed, if they dont what are my next steps?
Ness - 16-Feb-17 @ 5:29 PM
@Gem - it's probably best to if you're working for another salon. The customer may have given you permission to use it for your previous work, but not share it any further, meaning your previous employer is protecting its customer's privacy rights.
CeeJay - 14-Dec-16 @ 2:33 PM
@Anon - You need to contact the company directly and ask for the photograph to be removed by a specified time scale. (i.e two weeks). If the company refuses or does not keep to your request, then you can take the matter further. Adrian.
ADE76 - 13-Dec-16 @ 12:03 PM
Please can you help to advise.I ceased working for my last employer on 23/12/15. While working for them I was required to have my photo taken (by them) for use on their "meet the team" section of their product sales website. I was obviously fine with this while I worked there, but, I have recently visited the website to see that they are still showing my photograph, and I am still being listed as the manager that I was when I worked there...almost a year after I left. I currently have another position, which fortunately is not on competition, but I do feel that this is a breach of my data protection and my privacy! For the record, I left the company as I questioned their employment skills, and I would not particularly want to be associated with them now, and I certainly do not endorse their work or products. I have checked my old contract and it does not mention anything about using my own data after my employment ceased. Do you think I have a case, as I feel this is an invasion of my privacy and assumes that I endorse their work?
Anon - 12-Dec-16 @ 6:54 AM
I worked as an employee for a company where I took photos of hair that I have done. I've now left that company and gone self employed in another salon and have used one of my photos to advertise my work on the salons instagram. My ex employer has got in touch and has said that I'm data protection as the photo was taken on their property and have asked for it to be removed. Not sure what to do as I myself took the photos of my work on my phone with the customers permission.do I have to take the photo down
Gem - 9-Dec-16 @ 7:16 PM
My partner was self employed with another company, who told him take pictures of his work for a port folio. There was no contract made with them. My partner now has recently set up business on his own. And is using his photos of his work. They are saying they dont want the pictures uup as it was when he worked with them. What can we do ?
Hannah - 7-Dec-16 @ 6:54 PM
@G - yes of course you can, especially if you no longer work there. I don't think it's illegal to have your image up, but out of courtesy they should take it down if you request it. Jim.
JMN56 - 29-Nov-16 @ 12:22 PM
I have retired from the company I worked at for 33 years.They have a picture on the home page of their website that has me included.Can I ask that my picture not be used?
G - 29-Nov-16 @ 12:41 AM
Work want to film me working to go on there website can I refuse this?
Jh9911 - 23-Nov-16 @ 7:39 PM
Shan - Your Question:
My ex husband and his partner have put up photos of my children on there website for a community park. The children are in quite a few photos advertising different events and are named in a few of them. Is there any way I can have them removed? His partner runs the lottery funded website so going to her directly would not be option. If it is possible to have them removed, how do I go about this?

Our Response:
You would have to request this directly. If photos are taken for personal use they are not covered by the Data Protection Act. However, if photos taken for official usage, they may be covered by the Act. You may find more information via the ICO link here. The ICO would also be able to give you more direct advice. I hope this helps.
YourPrivacy - 2-Nov-16 @ 2:49 PM
My ex husband and his partner have put up photos of my children on there website for a community park. The children are in quite a few photos advertising different events and are named in a few of them. Is there any way I can have them removed? His partner runs the lottery funded website so going to her directly would not be option. If it is possible to have them removed, how do i go about this?
Shan - 2-Nov-16 @ 7:14 AM
Destresserai - Your Question:
My husband worked for a company on a self-employed basis and several years ago was photographed for a promotional picture. In 2015, the company decided that they would no longer offer my husband work (through unscrupulous practices on their part but he was unable to take any real action against the company as he was self-employed). As recently as yesterday, the company continue to use my husband's image on local newspaper articles both web-based and hard copy. Are they allowed to do this or can we request that they stop the use of his image???

Our Response:
Yes, you can certainly request the company stops using this image.
YourPrivacy - 13-Oct-16 @ 12:52 PM
My husband worked for a company on a self-employed basis and several years ago was photographed for a promotional picture. In 2015, the company decided that they would no longer offer my husband work (through unscrupulous practices on their part but he was unable to take any real action against the company as he was self-employed). As recently as yesterday, the company continue to use my husband's image on local newspaper articles both web-based and hard copy. Are they allowed to do this or can we request that they stop the use of his image???
Destresserai - 12-Oct-16 @ 10:40 PM
Tala - Your Question:
We live in a quiet cul de sac in a semi rural area with a low crime rate yet my neighbourshave cameras on their house. Their house is the last house in the cul de sac Their latest camera moves and pans the street , it films the houses opposite and the comings and goings of their family , friends etc. Another camera points across my land and films me and my visitors and other neighbours.We are all at a loss to understand why these neighbours feel the need to have these cameras as well as the numerous lights that illuminbate the house. I can stand on my drive and their flood lights come and I believe I am being filmed.What can be done about the cameras and the filming?

Our Response:
The only way that you might be able to take action against your neighbour for recording you and other neighbours, is if you have reason to believe that the camera isn’t there for security reasons, please see article; Does Neighbour's Camera Contravene Privacy Rights? here. I hope this helps.
YourPrivacy - 7-Oct-16 @ 9:45 AM
We live in a quiet cul de sac in a semi rural area with a low crime rate yet my neighbours have cameras on their house. Their house is the last house in the cul de sac Their latest camera moves and pans the street , it films the houses opposite and the comings and goings of their family , friends etc. Another camera points across my land and films me and my visitors and other neighbours. We are all at a loss to understand why these neighbours feel the need to have these cameras as well as the numerous lights that illuminbate the house. I can stand on my drive and their flood lights come and I believe I am being filmed. What can be done about the cameras and the filming?
Tala - 6-Oct-16 @ 8:40 AM
My company have published my staff photo in a national magazine without my permission to do so. I have checked my contract and there is no mention of images. The magazine has been published so it can't simply be removed. What should I do?
Stephen - 17-Sep-16 @ 12:50 AM
none - Your Question:
I gave my company permission to use my photo on their website. I am quitting the company and want my photo taken down. The company has refused due to cost and the fact that they own the photo. Can I demand my photo be taken down?

Our Response:
If you no longer work for the company, then you can request your information is removed.According to the ICO: 'An employer should review the personal data it holds about an individual when that individual leaves the organisation’s employment. It will need to retain enough data to enable the organisation to deal with, say, providing references or information about the individual’s pension arrangements. However, personal data that is unlikely to be needed again should be removed from the organisation’s records.' Please see link here . I hope this helps.
YourPrivacy - 8-Sep-16 @ 12:25 PM
Tj - Your Question:
Any response to my question of with August???

Our Response:
If your former company is still using the photos of previous staff, then you should write to the company and ask for those images to be removed. If the company refuses, then you may wish to contact the ICO, here.
YourPrivacy - 8-Sep-16 @ 11:08 AM
I gave my company permission to use my photo on their website.I am quitting the company and want my photo taken down.The company has refused due to cost and the fact that they own the photo.Can I demand my photo be taken down?
none - 7-Sep-16 @ 6:23 PM
Any response to my question of with August???
Tj - 7-Sep-16 @ 2:00 PM
GillyA - Your Question:
Hi,I recently joined a weight loss program and at the start photos were taken for a 'Before and after' comparison.After leaving the gym, I have gone onto the website to find that they are using my before and after photos for advertising with a false statement I never made.Is this legal? I have requested that they take it down but am upset that they would do this without my permission in the first place.Thanks

Our Response:
You have the right to be confident that organisations handle your personal information responsibly and in line with good practice. If you have a concern about the way an organisation is handling your information, you can see more via the ICO link here which will tell you how to complain.
YourPrivacy - 7-Sep-16 @ 10:48 AM
Hi, I recently joined a weight loss program and at the start photos were taken for a 'Before and after' comparison. After leaving the gym, I have gone onto the website to find that they are using my before and after photos for advertising with a false statement I never made. Is this legal? I have requested that they take it down but am upset that they would do this without my permission in the first place. Thanks
GillyA - 6-Sep-16 @ 11:45 AM
Hi, thank you for the useful article. I really hope you will answer my question. My ex employer still have my photos from a business event from 2 years ago on the business website. The event and purpose is finished but I think the business is using it as marketing. Photos can be found publicly on google as well as my name. I have not signed a consent form so do i have the right to e-mail the small business to ask them to remove my photo and name? and what to do if they ignore my e-mail?
Anon - 1-Sep-16 @ 11:00 AM
James - Your Question:
I work for a company where children do lots of activities and generally have a lot of fun. We recently had a mum post a negative review where she also posted a photo and the name of an employee. Naturally this has caused upset, and even though a full investigation (cctv too) showed no wrong doing, the customer won't remove the staffs name and photo. Isnt this defamation? We have reported this to google but been advised they won't 'mediate' or remove. Can you advise please as this leaves everyone deflated and feeling like they have done wrong when clearly it's not the case. There is a lot about trolls, bullying, but when this affects your prospects and place of work, this is hard to tolerate. Thank you so much in advance.

Our Response:
You would have to seek legal advice regarding this. A solicitor's letter may do the trick.
YourPrivacy - 1-Sep-16 @ 10:51 AM
I work for a company where children do lots of activities and generally have a lot of fun. We recently had a mum post a negative review where she also posted a photo and the name of an employee. Naturally this has caused upset, and even though a full investigation (cctv too) showed no wrong doing, the customer won't remove the staffs name and photo. Isnt this defamation? We have reported this to google but been advised they won't 'mediate' or remove. Can you advise please as this leaves everyone deflated and feeling like they have done wrong when clearly it's not the case. There is a lot about trolls, bullying, but when this affects your prospects and place of work, this is hard to tolerate. Thank you so much in advance.
James - 31-Aug-16 @ 2:56 PM
A company that I know made all the staff redundant with no notice or pay are still using a photo on a website to advertise, is this legal? Some of the ex staff are very unhappy about this
Tj - 26-Aug-16 @ 6:08 AM
Customer came into my work and complained about service they then took a photo of me which I politely asked them to delete as I hadn't given them permission and it wasn't relevant as they had my name and details. What are my rights
Vic - 3-Aug-16 @ 3:15 PM
Kaz - Your Question:
The company I work for want to take my photograph for a photo wall at work. So that customers know who I am. I don't want my photo on display. We already have to wear badge with full name on and my full name is on the website (my permission was never given) I think this is more than sufficient. Is it my right to refuse?

Our Response:
As specified in the article, employee contracts cover the terms of employment and you’ll need to read that carefully to see if you’ve given the company the right to use your photo in this way. If it’s in there, then, by signing the contract, you’ve given them the right to use the image. However, it’s not in the employee contract, then they’ll need your permission to comply with the Data Protection Act. You have a right to refuse your permission on the basis that you as an employee have the right to a private life under the Human Rights Act.
YourPrivacy - 26-Jul-16 @ 12:02 PM
The company I work for want to take my photograph for a photo wall at work.. So that customers know who I am... I don't want my photo on display... We already have to wear badge with full name on and my full name is on the website (my permission was never given) I think this is more than sufficient... Is it my right to refuse?
Kaz - 25-Jul-16 @ 2:45 PM
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