Monitoring employees at work
The Data Protection Acts 1988 – 2003 applies to all information that employers collect about their workers – personal information, medical history, CCTV images.
The Act does not prevent an employer for collecting and using such information, however, it does try to strike a balance between the employers need to maintain employment records and the individual’s right to privacy.
What does this mean in practice?
The employer does not need permission to collect and maintain information but the employee must be made aware of the records and how they are to be used.
The employee must have reasonable access to the records and it is good practice to have a system in place to allow individuals to check and update the records.
Employment records should be confidential and secure – access should be limited to people who need to refer to the records to do their job.
The Act does not make monitoring of employees illegal but it does require that the level of monitoring is justified by the legitimate interest of the employer.
CCTV may infringe the privacy of the persons captured in the images on screen, so there must be a legitimate reason for installing the system, such as:
- Protection of property and equipment
- Security of employees
- prevention of theft
- to identify unsafe practices
If CCTV is installed in a workplace, the employer should put in place a clear policy statement to explain why it is necessary to have monitoring in place.
If employees are informed that the CCTV cameras were installed to improve security, the CCTV footage cannot be used to monitoring the start and finish times of employees.
Contact me if you are considering introducing CCTV or other surveillance measures.