Can You be “Big Brother” And Monitor Your Domestic Staff On CCTV?

Can You be “Big Brother” And Monitor Your Domestic Staff On CCTV?

Recently in Singapore an employer used CCTV to monitor his domestic staff and when he saw his child abused handed the evidence to the police. He then posted it on Facebook. His actions have once again stirred up the “should we or shouldn’t we” monitor staff discussion.

So, what are the legal constraints in the UK on using CCTV to monitor staff, your housekeeper, for instance. The following outlines what procedures have to be followed if you choose to use CCTV surveillance.

The new General Data Protection Regulations which replaced the Data Protection Act does not prevent employers from monitoring workers, but employers should remember workers are entitled to some privacy at work. Employers must tell employees about any monitoring arrangements and the reason for it.

If CCTV is being used by the employer, the employer must inform employees that it is in use by displaying signs (which are clear and visible) of where the cameras are in the building and inform employees that they ‘may’ be filmed. Additionally they must tell employees the reason for the surveillance.

Employers must make sure that they use the data they collect for the purposes it was collected for; for example if you install CCTV as a crime deterrent it must be used for that purpose and not for employee surveillance, for example, when staff leave the premises or start work.

Employees do have the right to access any CCTV recordings an employer holds on them through a ‘subject access request’.

So, CCTV can be used, but within the rules. If you know in advance you wish to do so, it can be written into the Contact of Employment.


The Graham Agency, keeping you informed.