Legalities of Workplace Monitoring
"Is it legal for me to monitor
my employee’s activity in the workplace?" In the UK, this is the first
question we are always asked by business owners and managers interested
in MAS and wishing to protect their business and themselves
(vicarious liability) through the potentially inappropriate or even
criminal and illegal behaviour of their employees in the workplace.
To answer this and other critical questions important
to both the Employer and the Employee, we have teamed up with
leading UK Personnel & Employment Law Consultancy - Peninsula.
since 1983, Peninsula provide their 17,500
clients, throughout the UK, with Personnel
and Employment Law and Health and Safety
Peninsula have grown
due to their commitment to customer care
and by tailoring their unique Services,
including Employment Tribunal Services,
Corporate Solutions for larger corporate
clients, Tailored Training and informative
answered by Mike Huss, Peninsula's Senior Employment
from the employer:
from the employee:
- Is it legal for me to monitor
my employee’s activity in the workplace?
- What do I have to do to
make it legal?
- What are the benefits to
- Does workplace monitoring
infringe my rights?
- What do I need to know about
1. Is it
legal for me to monitor my employee’s activity in
do I have to do to make it legal?
should be made aware, at induction and reminded
subsequently at intervals, that it is your
policy to monitor, that you in fact do so
and will take action against transgressors.
detail should be spelt out in contracts
of employment and the employee handbook
you do not have such terms in your current
contracts then you will need to introduce
them. Consult with all your staff explaining
why you need to do this. Listen to any objections
– encompass them if you can, but it is your
responsibility. If necessary dismiss (invalid)
objections by, if you cannot persuade the
individual(s) to accept the changes, giving
them their notice, in writing (complying
with the Statutory Disputes Resolutions
Procedures), that the employment is terminated
and offering them the alternative contract
containing exactly the same terms and conditions
as before but including the additional terms
relating to monitoring.
Back to Top
3. What are the benefits
problems regarding low performance, both
quality and quantity, less (hopefully none)
misbehaviour with the internet and e-mails
and a smoother disciplinary or capability
progression with added certainty of winning
any Tribunal should one happen along.
Back to Top
workplace monitoring infringe my rights?
– it enhances them. The Employment Rights
Act 1996, the Data Protection Act 1998,
the Human Rights Act 1998 (which does not
apply to private employers anyway) the Telecommunications
(Lawful Business Practice) (Interception
of Communications) Regulations 2000 allow,
and require that employees use of telecommunications
equipment can and should be monitored to
prevent abuses of employees by their employer
and other employees.
in all the regulations gives an employee
the right to use the employer’s equipment
for personal use but if an employer does
allow the, for example, taking of private
telephone calls in an emergency, those calls
should not be monitored or listened to.
However all business “transactions” can
and should be monitored to prevent harassment,
bullying or abuse of employees by another.
Staff should be made aware that such monitoring
occurs and what will happen if someone does
disobey the rules.
Back to Top
do I need to know about workplace monitoring?
is and is not acceptable; and
happens if the rules are infringed