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Blog  »  July 2015  »  Use of CCTV in Disciplinary Procedures - Blog
Jul 15

Posted by
Michelle Arkins

Use of CCTV in Disciplinary Procedures

All usage of CCTV, other than in a purely domestic context, must be undertaken in compliance with the requirements of the Data Protection Act. Extensive guidance on this issue is available by clicking this link. In summary, all uses of CCTV must be proportionate and for a specific purpose. As CCTV infringes the privacy of the persons captured in the images, there must be a genuine reason for installing such a system.

The images captured should be retained for a maximum of 28 days, except where the image identifies an issue and is retained specifically in the context of an investigation of that issue.

A recent decision of the Employment Appeals Tribunal brought into focus some pitfalls which employers can face in seeking to rely on CCTV footage in disciplinary proceedings, read the full story here!

The employer's failure to adhere to data protection legislation in the case at hand meant that the Employment Appeals Tribunal was always likely to find against them. Accordingly, employers who have CCTV cameras installed in their premises should be cognisant of the data protection legislation. In this regard, it should be noted that the Data Protection Commissioner has issued guidance on this matter in recent years. In particular, the Data Protection Commissioner has advised the following:

The rationale for using CCTV surveillance in disciplinary procedures must be that it is justifiably necessary to protect some legitimate aim of the employer.

1. The use of the CCTV must be transparent. In this regard, the Data Protection Commissioner has advised that employers make employees aware of the presence and location of the cameras and the purpose of the footage captured prior to using the cameras. As a result, an important point to note is that an employer cannot use information gathered from surveillance as evidence in a disciplinary matter unrelated to the purpose for which the cameras were installed.

To conclude, all employers utilising CCTV surveillance should take the following steps or else they will be unable to successfully rely on such evidence in disciplinary proceedings:

1. Issue a written policy to employees outlining the situations in which monitoring may occur and the purpose of such monitoring.

2. Ensure that the installation of CCTV cameras is transparent. In this regard, it is advisable that notices are displayed around the workplace highlighting that CCTV is in operation.

3. Ensure that the purpose for the CCTV is justifiably necessary.

4. Carry out surveillance in a fair manner.

A company’s staff handbook should clearly state all points addressed above if you have CCTV installed in your business but no policy then click here now and download our software for free.

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Posted in Company Handbook, Contract of employment