How to Legally Stalk Your Employees
3 Minute Read
3 Minute Read

Oh come on, if you didn’t spot that as click bait your clicks deserve to be captured by our analytics #anythingforclicks

In all seriousness, we never advocate stalking your employees, however, a bit of light touch monitoring in a GDPR-compliant way and is proportionate and properly justified and we are all over that with bells on.

So what can we do when it comes to monitoring?

When we talk about monitoring, we aren’t generally speaking about hiding in the bushes to check if your sick employee really is sick and filming them bringing their shopping in (though that one is definitely for another day).

Here, we are talking about the rock n roll subject of CCTV in the workplace, tracking computer and potentially phone activities and vehicle trackers all within the realm of GDPR/Data Protection.

Bet you wished you’d clicked on the cat video on YouTube instead.

Essentially the law is relatively simply on this:

Don’t do it covertly (i.e. drop the James Bond quotes and stop calling your HR Assistant Moneypenny) – it shouldn’t be a secret that you have the ability to monitor staff and that you might occasionally do it.

Be clear on your reasons why- before you undertake the monitoring and consider whether there is a less invasive (and more relationship preserving) means of reaching the desired outcome.

Ensure you don’t go too far- we should only be collecting and monitoring what is absolutely necessary. If you are viewing vehicle trackers for an employee who has personal use of his car, watching movements outside of working hours is a big no-no for example.

Documentation- ensure that you have a policy in place that confirms monitoring could take place, why it might take place, how the information  might be used, how long the information will be kept for and who it might be shared with, and where and how you are going to store it. Follow the policy. Also, don’t forget to document what you are doing, how the decisions have been made, why you are doing the monitoring and who is involved.

Some tips on things to avoid when it comes to workplace monitoring

Monitoring places where employees have a reasonable expectation of privacy, for example (and we really hope it goes without saying or data protection is the least of your problems) inside toilet cubicles or somewhere an employee would reasonably expect to change their clothes. Staff break out areas such as canteens are controversial, technically employees are on their own time in breaks so unless there is a really compelling safety or welfare reason for monitoring in such areas, generally you shouldn’t do it.

Be very clear with your employees that if they are working on company devices (and you have authorised personal use for things like email or break times) that personal information could be caught in monitoring and that they need to be aware of this before they start using a work device for personal use.

Generally, employers use monitoring to undertake investigations:

  1. Where disciplinary offenses are suspected (you should have an idea of what your employee might be up to, not just trying to catch them out on the off chance, or it is a sure fire way to destroy a relationship)
  2. For safety reasons where staff interact with members of the public or in environments where there is inherent physical risk associated with the job
  3. To ensure compliance with laws and policies, for example drivers to ensure they are not speeding, are following traffic laws and tacho regulations, and in the event of accidents where blame may need to be established
  4. Quality Control – it is often used by call centres or positions where staff are regularly interacting with members of the public and those interactions need to be monitored to ensure rules are being followed by staff but also in the event of a complaint

Are you ready to be your workplace hero?

While workplace monitoring may sound like a daunting task, it’s crucial to approach it with transparency, justification, and respect for privacy. Remember, it’s not about playing spy games or invading personal space; it’s about maintaining a safe and compliant work environment. So, if you’re considering implementing monitoring measures, ensure they’re proportionate, clearly communicated, and aligned with legal and ethical standards.

Want to delve deeper into this topic? Contact us today for expert guidance.