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Report on the workforce monitoring and surveillance practices: a practical guidance for employers

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  1. Background
  2. The legislative framework concerning employees monitoring: Your rights and your duties
    1. All you have to know about the relevant legislation
    2. The employment codes of practices
  3. The legislative framework remains somehow unclear and can be contested
    1. The lessons from the Durant v Financial Services Authority (2003) case
    2. The Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000 in question
    3. Privacy in the workplace: A contested concept
  4. A practical guidance for employers: How concretely put into practice monitoring policy
    1. Some advice before introducing monitoring practices
    2. The keys to a successful introduction of monitoring practices
  5. Conclusion
  6. References

Employers have always been monitoring theirs employees in one way or another to assess the quantity and the quality of a worker's performance. Monitoring should be understood in a broad meaning: employers can decide to use hidden cameras, CCTV cameras, they can open e-mails or keep records of phone calls as well as check regularly the websites visited by employees. As they are responsible for theirs employees, they must be aware to a certain extent of what their employees are doing and how. This need to monitor theirs employees can be explained also by the fact that employees can breach the rules of confidentiality and thus jeopardize the firm, or for reasons of security.
The technological progress provides employers a wide range of tools to achieve theirs goals: CCTV cameras, monitoring software?Technically speaking the vision of a Big Brother watching all the time the employees is now possible. Thus this question of employees monitoring involves issues about data protection and human rights such as the respect of private life. The potential for abuse is huge: the information may be inaccurate, it can be collected for one purpose and used for another or they can be given to a third party without the consent of the employee?Thus a growing number of regulations have been enforced since 1998 in order to protect the employee and to delimit how far the employer can use monitoring practices without infringing on employee's privacy.

The aim of this report is to remind the employer the key legislations about employees monitoring and to advice him on how to deal lawfully with monitoring practices within his firm. Through the discussion of some relevant law cases related to the topic I will try to elaborate a practical guidance for employers about how to use surveillance practices without breaching the law and undermining the firm's performance.

[...] Concretely an assessment can be broken down into 5 parts: the identification of the purposes of monitoring and its potential benefits and the identification of any adverse effects, like for instance on customers. Maybe there exist other alternatives to monitoring that you have to take into account. Even if it looks obvious, you have to be aware of the legislative framework, of your rights as well as your duties; you would be better off knowing the basic law cases related to this topic too. [...]


[...] Through the discussion of some relevant law cases related to the topic I will try to elaborate a practical guidance for employers about how to use surveillance practices without breaching the law and undermining the firm's performance. I-The legislative framework concerning employees monitoring: your rights and your duties If you are thinking of introducing monitoring practices within your organisation, you have to be aware of the legislative framework. Regulations and codes of practices have been enforced since 1998, in order to control the use of monitoring, and to protect the employee's privacy as well. [...]


[...] *Data should not be transferred to a country or territory outside the European Economic Area unless that country or territory ensures an adequate level of protection for the rights and freedoms of data subjects in relation to the processing of personal data. You have to inform your employees that you are going to monitor them for adequate purposes. You may want to use CCTV for the purposes of training (for instance telephone calls are often recorded in calls centers to improve service quality) or for security (within a shop). [...]

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