Employee surveillance – what can you do?
A lot, but workplace surveillance is regulated in NSW by the Workplace Surveillance Act 2005 and by the Surveillance Devices Act 2007.
These Acts set out the how, when and where of monitoring employees including in relation to computers, cameras, listening devices and GPS tracking.
Whilst monitoring employees can be a very useful tool for work health and safety purposes, protecting a company’s proprietary rights to confidential information and intellectual property and seeking to minimize work inefficiencies, strict compliance with the above Acts is required failing which fines and in extreme cases, imprisonment can apply.
For example, before computer surveillance can begin, 14 days prior notice to the employee must be given. Typically this notice is given in the employment agreement. The notice must specify how and when the surveillance is to be carried out and whether it will be intermittent or continuous and whether for a specified or limited period of time.
Computer surveillance can include the checking of smart phones and other electronic devices. By being able to track emails, internet sites visited, software downloaded, files saved to external storage devices, and accessing employer software, the boss is well equipped to be alerted to potential restraint of trade breaches before they occur. All our employment agreements have applicable notice provisions.