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Can I covertly monitor staff at work?

Employment  Law | Jersey Business Legal Services

As an employer, you may wish to monitor staff in the workplace for various reasons.  Whilst the Data Protection (Jersey) Law 2018 does not prevent employers from monitoring workers, employees are entitled to a degree of privacy and employers must therefore inform employees about policies regarding monitoring.

The following points should be observed:

Written policies must be in place regarding monitoring which must be justified and cannot be excessive.

Staff must be informed as to what will be recorded and for how long the data will be kept.  Any saved data must be kept secure.

There are many reasons you may wish to monitor staff activity: this could be a legal or regulatory need, depending on the industry, or could be to ensure employees are not at risk from unsafe working conditions of practices.

The means of monitoring could be by CCTV, email and web usage monitoring, listening in or recording telephone calls or bag searches.  It is important that, as an employer, if personal use of phones/email/internet is permitted in the workplace and is to be monitored, that staff are aware of this and the reason why.  If this is the case, policy must be in place detailing what is or is not allowed, any websites that may be banned or blocked and what is considered reasonable usage. Any staff member not complying with the published policy could be subject to disciplinary procedure.

Specific Issues

CCTV monitoring

CCTV can be used in the workplace but again, employees must be informed – usually by signage around the relevant areas of the building – and given the reason for monitoring.

Bag searches

Should the employer wish to carry out bag searches on employees, a policy must be in place informing staff of this. There must be a legitimate work related reason for carrying out searches.

Covert monitoring

In rare circumstances an employer may wish to carry out covert monitoring but this must only be if absolutely necessary and there must be a genuine reason such as criminal activity or malpractice.  The covert monitoring can only be carried out as part of a specific investigation and must cease once the investigation is complete.

You should always consider taking legal advice before commencing such activities.

For advice, assistance or further information please do not hesitate to call 630530 or email us on EmploymentLawyers@parslowsjersey.com

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