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Is workplace monitoring on the rise?

View profile for Chris Amys
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The TUC has published new figures revealing 56% of workers believe they are being monitored at work by their employers, such as monitoring their internet browsing history, watching CCTV footage, viewing workplace emails,  and listening into calls on company mobile phones. In addition, advanced methods of surveillance have been reported to the TUC that are being increasingly used by employers such as tracking devices and facial recognition software.

In addition, 66% of workers are concerned that surveillance in the workplace could be used in a discriminatory way. Moreover, 70% of workers consider surveillance in the workplace will be increasingly used by employers in the future, especially as many organisations are modernising their workplaces.

Some of the TUC’s members have cited specific examples of the types of surveillance businesses are presently using, such as Amazon using wristbands to track its warehouse workers and Uber using vehicle trackers for their drivers.

Monitoring employees can enable a business to ensure efficiency and best practice being exercised across their organisation. It can also be used as a welfare tool in order that they can track where employees are which is especially important for health and safety purposes.

However employees have the right to privacy and dignity at work, which together with the introduction of GDPR, means that there are some restrictions on how and when an organisation can use technology to monitor their employees.

Therefore if an employer is considering the possibility of implementing new forms of surveillance for its employees, it is advisable to ensure the use of surveillance is in the pursuit of a legitimate business aim and has taken into account its effect on their employees and their right to privacy. Having clear policies and procedures in place will greatly help in ensuring all parties are aware of what is and is not permitted.

In addition, employers should consult with their employees if they are going to implement significant changes with the use of surveillance for employee monitoring, so as to provide a full explanation to justify the decision to implement new forms of surveillance, as well as address any concerns from employees.

Firms looking for advice on HR and employment law issues relating to the use of surveillance to monitor their employees can speak to Miss Sally Morris via 01905 610410 or email sally.morris@mfgsolicitors.com.

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