Many thanks for your patience, I am pleased to be able to continue assisting with your query now. First of all, I am sorry to hear about the issues you have experienced in your situation.
Monitoring of employees in the workplace is not uncommon and there are various reasons why an employer may wish to do so. When there is a genuine reason for monitoring employees, such as security, training, legal obligations, etc the employer would normally be justified in doing so, as long as it is conducted in an open and reasonable manner.
As far as the law is concerned, monitoring in the workplace is covered by the Data Protection Act (DPA). As such, the employer must adhere to a number of principles set out in data protection legislation, 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
- 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 or distress to them.
In addition to the above principles, the Information Commissioner's Office has published a Code on monitoring in the workplace. The Code states the following:
- If monitoring is to be justified on the basis that it is necessary to enforce the organisation’s rules and standards, these must be known and understood by workers
- The employer should set out a policy detailing under which circumstances monitoring may take place, the nature of monitoring and how information gathered from it may be used
- It is a fundamental principle of data protection that employees are aware of the monitoring taking place
- Video recording of employees will be allowed in rare circumstances, such as if they work in particularly hazardous areas or if security is a major concern. If it is carried out, prominent signs advising employees of this must be in and around the affected areas.
Covert video monitoring is even more restricted and may only take place if open monitoring is likely to prejudice the prevention or detection of crime or equivalent malpractice or the apprehension or prosecution of offenders.
Any concerns about the level of monitoring at work should be raised with the employer to start with, however if the matter needs to be taken further, the Information Commissioner can also be approached, as they deal with data protection issues.
Hopefully, I have answered your query in a way that is simple and easy to understand. If anything remains unclear, I will be more than happy to clarify it for you. In the meantime, thank you once again for using our services.