When an employer intends to monitor employees during working hours, any monitoring should be carried out in line with and subject to a written monitoring and surveillance policy. Any monitoring should be proportionate and needs to be justified by the benefit that it brings to the employer.

Many employers make some checks on the quantity and quality of work produced by their staff for example, in counting the number of calls made on a daily or weekly basis. Such performance monitoring is obviously different to checks on behaviour through automated and electronic means including telephone monitoring, CCTV cameras and email interception. All of these have the potential to be extremely intrusive.

Employees have legitimate expectations to a degree of privacy at work as well as to keeping their personal lives private. Any adverse impact on these expectations as a result of any monitoring must therefore be fully justified. Employers should carry out a formal or informal impact assessment to help them decide if and how to carry out any monitoring.

As examples of good practice, employers should:

  • Be clear about the purpose of monitoring
  • Be satisfied that the particular method chosen is justified by the benefits
  • Make sure that workers are aware of the nature, extent and reasons for any monitoring
  • Keep to a minimum those who have access to the information generated by the monitoring process
  • Ensure that the information gathered should not be used for any other purpose
  • Ensure that where the information may have an adverse impact on an individual worker that the employee should be given the opportunity to see the information and make representations before any action is taken
  • Make sure that the employee’s right of access to the information is not compromised.

 

 

 

 

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