When Is Covert Monitoring Justifiable?

CCTV is one way in which employers can track the performance and behaviour of their employees in order to ensure that their business interests are protected. But as the use of CCTV continues to increase, it is important that employers are aware of and manage the associated risks.

Covert monitoring (where the individual is not aware the monitoring is taking place) will only be justifiable in exceptional circumstances where there are grounds to suspect criminal activity or extremely serious malpractice. If such monitoring is undertaken it would be advisable to ensure that:

  • senior management authorises its use;
  • it is only carried out for a set timeframe and as part of a specific investigation;
  • the risk of intrusion on innocent workers is considered;
  • areas where privacy is expected remain private; and
  • limited numbers of people are involved.

If information obtained during covert monitoring inadvertently brings up evidence of other malpractice, this evidence should not be used against employees unless it is a case of serious gross misconduct. Where the misconduct is minor in nature, use of the ‘secret’ footage to discipline individuals will not be allowed.

covert policy

For further information on use of CCTV in the workplace in the UK please click here.


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