What do you need to know about CCTV in the workplace?

There are many compelling reasons to include CCTV in workplace areas. Not least is the reported average 7p per transaction “theft tax” on every transaction in UK retail! Add to that the fact that violence in the workplace is rising and actually doubled between 2017 and 2018. No surprise then that CCTV in the workplace is increasing. Business simply cannot afford to “absorb” this cost and a cost effective response is CCTV.

Benefits of CCTV in the workplace

  • Keeping employees safe – reduce theft and other crimes
  • Protecting business interests – help to prevent vandalism and malingering
  • Improve the way a business functions – CCTV may show that employees are struggling with a specific task or that there is an area of overcrowding. This allows employers to make changes
  • Training staff
  • Upholding health and safety rules – CCTV enables employers to ensure that health and safety procedures are followed and produce evidence in the event of a breach. It can of course highlight the reverse and demonstrate where employers have not taken sufficient measures to protect staff.

Are there any rules or restrictions about use of CCTV?

Yes, as with anything involving data at work there are restrictions and a necessary compliance checklist, don’t worry it is not too onerous!  Below are the key regulations to be mindful of:

Human Rights Act 1988 (HRA) Employees have the right to privacy, intrusive and disproportionate CCTV monitoring may breach this right. An example would be filming in areas where individuals would expect privacy such as bathrooms or break areas.

Employers must tell employees about any monitoring arrangements and the reasons for it.

GDPR – Employees now have much stronger protection of their personal data under GDPR. Failure to adhere to this can result in a fine of up to 4% of annual turnover for the previous year or 20 million euros for larger business.

Employers should have written policies and procedures in place regarding monitoring at work, monitoring shouldn’t be excessive and should be justified.

Employees have the right to SAR (subject access request) for disclosure of data about them within 30 days. GDPR also prevents an employer from using the cameras for a different reason rather than that originally intended eg. if it stated that it will be used to reduce theft, it cannot be used to record the entry and departure of workers to the workplace.

Staff should be told what information will be recorded and how long it will be kept.

Mutual trust and confidence – Employers must not act in a manner that is likely to destroy or damage the relationship of mutual trust and confidence between themselves and employees. Therefore, contravening their privacy by inappropriately filming them is likely to breach this, giving employees the right to resign and claim constructive unfair dismissal.

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