Surveillance in the Workplace

Employers in NSW and the ACT, and to a lesser extent Victoria, need to be aware of the their legal position in regard to covert surveillance of their employers. Employers located in other states should get specific advice relevant to their particular state.

As an employer you can only “spy” on your employees provided you have told them that you might do so! This could be in the form of a policy which you get each employee to sign off against as having read and understood. It can be part of your employment contract although common practice is to have it as a policy appearing in your HR handbook.

Not only must you inform staff that their use of email may be checked, that you may have cameras installed in the workplace and that you will from time to time check their social media usage it is imperative that your policy states that this information may be used against them and could lead to them losing their job.

Failure to properly warn employees that you may be using covert surveillance in the workplace could expose your business to hefty penalties under workplace privacy laws. Please seek appropriate advice if you require guidance on this important matter.