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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 47355
Experience:  Qualified Solicitor - Please start your question with 'For Ben Jones'
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I believe my employer is secretly monitoring me at work

Customer Question

Hi
I believe my employer is secretly monitoring me at work via use of hidden cctv in my office and audio device.
Already ask them directly and was told that is not the case.
I bought a tracking device and I am pretty sure cctv hidden in smoke alarm above desk.
What can I now do to stop being watched without my consent?
No policy exist to say secretly recording apply
Thsnks
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 1 year ago.
Hello, my name is***** am a qualified solicitor and it is my pleasure to assist you with your question today. Do you actually have direct evidence that you are being monitored?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
As not expert with the device bought I cannot be 100 per cent certain.
From photos I took from the smoke alarm it is apparent to me the camera lense is there.
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 1 year ago.
Good morning, assuming there is in fact a camera fitted there, such surveillance will likely be unlawful. There are various reasons why an employer may wish to monitor its employees in the workplace. When there is a genuine reason for monitoring employees, such as security, training, legal obligations, etc the employer would normally be justified in monitoring, as long as it is conducted in an open and reasonable manner. The actual use of monitoring equipment in the workplace will be covered by the Data Protection Act 1998 (“DPA”) as it would involve the processing of personal data. As such, the employer must adhere to a number of principles set out in the DPA, which include:· obtaining the data fairly and lawfully;· informing employees of the types of monitoring that are being used;· using the data obtained from monitoring only for a specific purpose;· limiting the data to adequate and relevant data; and· not holding the data for longer than necessary. An employee may only try and prevent the monitoring from taking place if it breaches any of the DPA principles or if it is carried out in a way that is causing or is likely to cause substantial damage and distress to them. In addition to the above principles, the Information Commissioner's Office has published a Code on data protection in the workplace. The Code states that CCTV should not be used to monitor the employee's compliance with their employment contract. This means that if the cameras are there to deal with security issues, they should not be used to reprimand an employee over their poor performance. The Code also recommends that routine CCTV monitoring of employees is only likely to be justified when there are particular safety or security risks that cannot be dealt with by less intrusive means. Covert monitoring by CCTV may only take place if the following exceptional circumstances apply:· the monitoring relates to behaviour, not to contract performance;· it is carried out to investigate a suspected criminal activity or malpractice; and· informing staff is likely to prejudice the above purpose and certain standards for covert monitoring are complied with. Finally, there is the issue of human rights. Under human rights legislation every person has the right to private life so if there is evidence that an employer has invaded that privacy the employee could take action against their employer. General monitoring that is justified and that meets the criteria set out above is unlikely to invade one’s privacy, but covert monitoring or monitoring in areas where some privacy could be expected (e.g. toilets, private rooms, vehicles, etc.) is likely to be unreasonable and possibly unlawful. This is your basic legal position. I have more detailed advice for you in terms of what to do next to try and challenge this,which I wish to discuss so please take a second to leave a positive rating for the service so far (by selecting 3, 4 or 5 stars) and I can continue with that and answer any further questions you may have. Don’t worry, leaving a rating will not close the question and we can continue this discussion. Thank you
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Customer: replied 1 year ago.
What can I do next please?
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 1 year ago.
Thank you for the rating. The first step is to challenge the employer over this. To make a formal complaint in work, you would be looking at raising a grievance. Check to see if there is a grievance policy in work and follow that, but if there isn’t it is done by sending your concerns in writing to your line manager and stating you wish to make a grievance. If the grievance is rejected or does not resolve things you could look at complaining to the Information Commissioner’s Office, which deals with data protection breaches. Your final option, if you believe that as a result of this you cannot continue working there, is to consider resigning and making a claim for constructive dismissal in the employment tribunal. Obviously this is a drastic step so only go down that route if you seriously believe you cannot remain there because of it.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Thanks for your advice.
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 1 year ago.
You are welcome, all the best

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