Employers may need to monitor their employees in the workplace using CCTV for several legitimate reasons.
- ensuring that employees follow health and safety procedures
- preventing violence, theft or damaging misconduct
- monitoring productivity
- making sure employees comply with regulatory requirements
While CCTV can be tool to monitor compliance, is its use by employers compliant?
Employers should not be acting in a way that damages or destroys the mutual trust and confidence between themselves and their employees.
However, use of CCTV must also be in line with data protection laws and principles, as well as respecting employees’ rights to privacy under human rights law.
Rules for Using CCTV
CCTV in the workplace is used as more than deterrent. It can have a positive impact on productivity while protecting business interests.
It also has potential as a training tool, where staff can watch recordings of interactions or tasks to illustrate areas of improvement or achievement.
Employers must only use cameras for their stated, intended purpose. And they must ensure that they are compliant with GDPR and the Human Rights Act when it comes to respecting the legal rights and protections of employees
Compliance is about taking the necessary action to protect individual data and privacy, but also, crucially, ensuring that you are demonstrating this.
The Correct Notification
Compliance is not just about handling information. It is also about being transparent and having clarity of communication.
Certain areas, toilets for example, would not be appropriate for the use of CCTV. There should be proper consultation with employees and a clear, written policy.
It is important to let employees know in advance the reasons for introducing CCTV and how the monitoring will take place.
Employers must also be clear about how they will use any information they gather and how they will protect this information.
Where a business is using a CCTV provider, they need to be able to rely on this third party providing the necessary support that will be compliant, including the right advance information, notices and warnings.
The risk is that, however legitimate the purpose of using workplace CCTV is, if it is deemed non-compliant, then any footage is unusable
In this sense, compliance supports the legitimacy of using CCTV to monitor employees.
Rather than being a barrier to making this work, it should be an enabler, so long as the employer and CCTV provider are fully aware of their responsibilities.
Getting the use of CCTV wrong can have wide-ranging implications, beyond not being able to use any footage taken.
Employee surveillance is a sensitive area, and it has the potential to be damaging to an employer’s reputation if they get it wrong and find themselves being denounced by their own employees.
It is therefore not simply a compliance issue, but also something that can impact on an entire workplace culture.
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