Covert Surveillance of Employees at Work

If you are considering installing CCTV cameras in your workplace, it is important to make sure that you follow the rules so you can’t be accused of violating the right to privacy. There has been a huge increase in the amount of recording in recent years (think CCTV, body worn cameras, dashcams, drones etc) and as a result:

  • the Protection of Freedoms Act was introduced in 2012;
  • a Surveillance Camera Commissioner was appointed by Government; and
  • the Information Commissioners Office issued a “Data Protection Code of Practice for Surveillance Cameras and Personal Information”

Installing CCTV at Work

As an employer, if you wish to record staff at work then there are a number of steps you must take:

  • You must have a good business reason for monitoring staff
  • You must carry out an impact assessment which looks at alternatives to CCTV and only go ahead if there isn’t a viable alternative
  • You must register the business reason with the ICO and you can’t use the footage for another reason. So, for example, if your cameras are intended for health and safety reasons then you can’t use the footage to prevent crime
  • You must have a policy for how the recordings are to be used – this should include how long data will be stored, who will have access and how it can be kept safe and secure
  • You must put up clearly visible and readable signs saying where the cameras are, why they are being used and including contact details of who can be contacted about the monitoring scheme
  • You must consider areas where there is a higher than normal level of expected privacy and generally avoid siting cameras in these areas (for example toilets or changing rooms)

The consequences for getting it wrong can be expensive and could lead to claims from many individuals. In a recent case at the European Court of Human Rights, a supermarket employer installed hidden cameras to catch a suspected thief in addition to the visible cameras that staff already knew about. The court found that this breached the human rights of the workers as well as breaking data protection laws.

If you are thinking of installing CCTV monitoring in your workplace, please get in touch for advice before you go ahead so we can help keep you on the right side of the law.

 

The Backhouse Solicitors Team

Tel:         01245 893400

Email:    [email protected]

Web:     www.backhouse-solicitors.co.uk