Picture This Scenario!
You have worked in your office for the last seven years and a new manager takes over. The manager has told you they intend to update the technology in the office to the 21st century. That’s great you think the office needs updating. A few weeks later you spot a camera in the office fitted to the ceiling. You then take a look round the whole office area and find three more. You quickly get onto Google and type cameras in the workplace UK.
Cameras In The Workplace UK
There are various Laws and Agencies that cover Cameras In The Workplace. Breaking this down and starting with the UK Government :
Employers can monitor their staff. This can be carried out in the following areas:
- drug testing
- bag searches
- checking a worker’s emails or the websites they look at
This then continues with the subject covered by The Data Protection Law. However, All Employers must explain the amount of monitoring and in the Staff Handbook or Contract. They should explain the following:
- if they’re being monitored eg cameras
- what counts as a reasonable number of personal emails and phone calls
- if personal emails and calls are not allowed
Examples of monitoring are:
- looking at which websites workers have visited
- CCTV in the building
- checking workers’ bags as they leave
Employers are not allowed to fit cameras in toilets or Coffee/Break rooms, or in a place where you would expect privacy. If they do they could be in breach of the Data Protection Act.
Data Protection Act
Data Protection Act issued its first Code of Practice(COP) in 1998 covering the use of CCTV. Since then technology has come a long way, the COP has been updated the latest version is available online and has been updated since the Data Protection Act 2018 became law.
The COP covers various situations and instances were CCTV is used. Although mainly aimed at the end users of CCTV systems it details the policies involved with installation and how the Data is stored and viewed.
General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR)
Workers have a right to access information that an employer may hold on them. This can include information regarding any grievances or disciplinary action, or information obtained through monitoring processes cameras in the workplace UK
If a worker wants to see their personal data, they should speak to their employer. Most requests for personal data can be provided quickly and easily.
If the employer is unable or unwilling to agree to the request, a worker could make a Subject Access Request. A subject access request should be in writing and include:
- full name, address and contact details
- any information used by the organisation to identify the worker (account numbers, unique ID’s etc.)
- details of the specific information required and any relevant dates.
Arrangements should already be in place to deal with Subject Access Requests as a 40-day time limit is currently stipulated under the Data Protection Act. This time limit shortens to one month under the GDPR.
While the Data Protection Regulation allowed an employer to charge a fee for Subject Access Requests, fees may only be required under GDPR if the requests are “manifestly unfounded or excessive”.
If an employer refuses a request they must inform the individual within one month:
- why they have refused the request
- that the individual has the right to complain to the supervisory authority and to a judicial remedy.
You could also read our article on Spy Cameras and Why They Are Used