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Alice H
Alice H, Solicitor/Partner
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 2850
Experience:  Partner in national law firm
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Hi, I am a computer contractor working for my brothers company.

Customer Question

Hi,

I am a computer contractor working for my brothers company. I have been asked to setup a ‘secret’ webcam to monitor an employee’s computer screen using a hidden webcam. From weblogs I accessed by accident it appears he spends much of the day on gaming websites, looking at recruitment sites, facebook and generally if alone in the office visits soft porn websites just before leaving the office. To our surprise this activity goes back to July 2012. He also leaves the office early but records on time-sheets that he is present?

The porn type access is prohibited in the contract the employee signed and is deemed a gross misconduct which will/could (I don’t have the contract) result in immediate dismissal.
I have been asked to setup a webcam to monitor his screen for a few days just to confirm the web log activity. The webcam has been purchased by my brothers company.

Is it illegal for the company to perform this type of secret monitoring to gather evidence?
Would it be admissible in court should the employee seek compensation for unfair dismissal infringement of human rights etc ?
I am an employee of my own company and not of my brothers company (Who have this errant employee). As the person requested to set the webcam up am I or my company committing an offence of any kind, am I at risk in any way (I expect to share my findings with ONLY with the company’s directors) ?

Thanks for your advice.
Submitted: 4 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Alice H replied 4 years ago.
Hello and welcome to Just Answer.

My name is Alex and I'm happy to help with your question today.

You are not committing a criminal offence.

Also it is not illegal to monitor an employees internet use and his behaviour at work if there are reasonable grounds to suspect he is abusing his position.

Any evidence you've gathered can be used against the employeee.

If the employee is breaching the company IT policy (e.g. accessing porn) he could be dismissed immediately for gross misconduct.


Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Hello Alex,


 


Thanks for the reply.


 


If I define 'we' as 'Myself or my-company or the company I am contracted to then...


 


1/ It looks like we're OK to setup the webcam to collect direct evidence should it be needed later.


 


2/ We are not committing a criminal offense in monitoring this employees activities (His Computer screen) using a webcam.


 


3/ We are not infringing his human rights (A wide area I know) by not telling him at this time he is being monitored.


 


4/ I am not sure there is an "IT policy" but I am told 'misuse of this type' is part of his employment contract - So same thing in effect.


 


Once again thanks for the advice.


 


Gary...

Expert:  Alice H replied 4 years ago.
No problem. All the best.