Individual Privacy

Surveillance cameras in workplace


There is a right to privacy at the workplace. Your employer’s rights to run their business and protect their company are counterbalanced by your right to privacy. Your employer wants to protect their business, reputation, resources and equipment. Surveillance cameras in workplace is an important decision for both sides, your employer as well as the employees in their workplace. They might want to monitor your use of email, internet and phone. They might want to use a camera at your workplace.If your employer collects, uses or stores information about you, they must comply with the General Data Protection Regulation and the Irish Data Protection Act.

How do I know that my employer is keeping an eye on my emails and internet us

Your employer should have a policy on email and internet use in the workplace. The AUP is an acceptable usage policy. The AUP should tell you how much you can use company devices for personal communication. Your privacy matters and is a vital aspect of yourself. If your employer is monitoring your internet use, they need to tell you why. They have to tell you that.

Who is watching you, what are the reasons of performing that surveillance, what specific activity is being looked, what are the various mechanisms of monitoring, and when are they doing so. They must tell you the procedures for how and when you will be told if you break the rules for internet and email use.

Is the monitoring necessary and appropriate?

If your employer wants to watch your internet use,there must be some specific conditions for it:

Monitoring only what is necessary

Your employer has to be sure that monitoring is necessary. They should look at less intrusive ways of monitoring you. Monitoring your internet search history would be more intrusive than blocking websites.

Is the surveillance authorised legally? There should be a legal basis to the monitoring. To make sure that employees don’t use the internet to download pornography or to leak company information.

It’s necessary to proportion it. The risk of the perceived threat must be taken into account in your employer’s monitoring. It must be measured and has to be fair in its objectives. It wouldn’t make sense to monitor all of your emails to make sure you don’t pass on confidential information. If you use an automated system to check your emails for viruses, it would probably be considered a good idea.

If my employer is concerned about my internet use, what happens?

Unless there are important reasons for continuing the monitoring, your employer should immediately tell you if they believe you are using electronic communications. Pop-up warning windows can be used by your employer to let you know that you are messing with company systems.

Where should security cameras be placed?

If your employer has cameras in the workplace, you must see signs that tell you where they are. It is important that the signs are easy to read, well lit and positioned in places where they can be seen. The signs should tell you who you can talk to about the processing of your data. This could be the owner of the premises, or the security company that operates the system. While laying out the security cameras your employers must have a concrete information about where should security cameras be placed.


If it’s not obvious, your employer needs to state why they are using it. It’s obvious to place a camera at the entrance of a building. If your employer is using closed circuit television to monitor your performance, you must be told before recording. If it is installed for health and safety reasons, this should be clearly stated to everyone in the workplace.

Your employer needs to have a written policy on closed circuit TV

  • What is the process for you if you want to access those footage
  • What are the reasons and why the footage is being used.
  • What security mechanisms are followed to store the footage.
  • They have to specify which company is performing the monitoring task if its a third party
  • Is the footage also being shared by another third party
  • For what duration is the footage being stored

What is reasonable use of cameras in the workplace?

It is necessary for your employer to have a valid reason to use the cameras. They have to consider if using closed circuit television is reasonable. It may be reasonable to use a camera to detect thieves. It would only be justified in special circumstances if the employees were constantly monitored by the police.

It is difficult for an employer to justify using closed circuit television to monitor areas where you want privacy. If your employer wants to do this, they need to show that there have been security breeches in these areas.

The cameras should not be able to capture images from cubicles or urinal areas.

What if I don’t know that the employer is monitoring me without my knowledge

It is against the law to collect someone’s data or monitor them without their consent. The data can only be used to detect, prevent or investigate crime in very special circumstances. If you or your workplace are relevant to a criminal investigation, you should be monitored covertly. It can only last for a short time. If there is no evidence within a reasonable amount of time, the employer should stop covert surveilling.

Surveillance cameras in workplaces are becoming increasingly popular, but many people worry that they could invade employees’ personal lives. In fact, according to a survey conducted by Harris Poll, nearly half (48%) of employers plan to install some form of video monitoring system in the next year. However, while most companies say they want to monitor employee behavior, only one in five (20%) believe that using surveillance cameras is necessary to protect against theft or fraud.The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that employers can use video surveillance if there’s a legitimate business reason for doing so. For example, if an employer wants to keep track of who enters and exits the building, then he or she can install surveillance cameras.

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