Employee monitoring is not illegal, but requires managers to respect the data protection act and to ensure that the company policies are clearly explained in the employee contracts.

Employees’ Fair Degree Of Privacy

Employers should ensure that they have their staff enlightened about the necessity of having the workplace monitored because it can lead to some adverse impact on the workers that should be minimized to a reasonable level. Respecting the employees’ fair degree of privacy that they are entitled to could help reduce workplace friction. Reasons that could make companies opt for staff monitoring is:

  • Increase workers productivity
  • Avoid company resources wastage
  • Prevent trade secrets leakage
  • Retrieve lost information
  • Protect business from illegal activity lawsuits or sexual harassment defamation
  • Maintenance of system and network troubleshooting
  • Meet compliance standards
  • Investigate employee

According to the data protection act, the employers should use the appropriate monitoring methods that are less intrusive. The workers’ rights have caused most managers to take great caution in employee monitoring to avoid breaching the code. Employee monitoring laws UK recommends employers to:

  • Monitor for clear and justified reasons
  • Personal emails should not be opened unless it’s an exceptional circumstance
  • Discreet monitoring should be authorized in extreme circumstances by the senior management
  • Employees should be aware of an audio or video monitoring
  • Assess the monitoring benefits and any adverse impact on their staff

There are a number of methods used to monitor employees. One way to monitor workers is by using CCTV in the workplace and checking their bags when leaving the premises. Other ways are lie detector testing and checking websites visited by the workers. In case the employer needs to monitor personal data of their staff, the monitoring will only apply to a number of manual records e.g. personnel files and to computerized information. However, monitoring is restricted in some areas such as the washrooms and toilets.

Employee Monitoring Laws UK

Employers must clearly explain the extent of monitoring in the employees handbook or contract. If it is not in either the contract or the staff handbook, the employers must ensure that they have effectively communicated their intention of monitoring. They can send a notice via email or put it up on the notice board. The employees should be notified on the number of personal phone calls and emails reasonable to make, or if they are not allowed to make them at all.

Employee monitoring laws UK supports some exceptional circumstances that support monitoring without the employees consent. This kind of monitoring may require the help of a UK private investigator to help ensure that the monitoring operation comply with the code. The exceptional circumstances include:

  • Detection or prevention of criminal activity
  • Preventing unauthorized use of company resources to avoid the staff from breaching company policies
  • Screening the standards or service and training
  • Ensuring regulatory or self-regulatory rules are observed
  • Recording proof of business transactions
  • Maintaining the overall operation effectiveness of the management systems