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Monitoring Workers

Key Points

  • Please see our summary GDPR card here
  • There is no blanket prohibition on an employer monitoring its workers. However, any monitoring must be carried out in a lawful manner.
  • Monitoring is likely to give rise to issues under the European Convention on Human Rights, particularly Article 8, and the GDPR and the Data Protection Act 2018
  • Under the old Data Protection Act 1998 (since repealed and replaced by the DPA 2018 and the GDPR) the Information Commissioner’s Employment Practices Code, Part 3, contained useful guidance on how to monitor workers in compliance with the legislation. However since the repeal of the DPA 1998, caution must be exercised when referring to the old Code and it must be read in the light of the new legislation
  • Monitoring and recording electronic communications such as workers’ telephone calls, fax messages, emails and internet access, is likely to involve ‘interception’ of such communications and be subject to the requirements of the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000 (RIPA) and the Telecommunications (Lawful Business Practice) (Interception of Communications) Regulations 2000
  • Part 3 of the Employment Practices Code contained useful guidance for employers on video and audio monitoring, including CCTV, covert surveillance, vehicle tracking and other in-vehicle monitoring, and the use of information from third parties  - but must be now be considered historical in light of the legislative changes under the DPA 2018 and the GDPR and new ICO guidance issued in 2023
  • The Information Commissioner's Office (ICO)  published, in  October 2022, draft guidance on monitoring people at work and final guidance entitled “Employment Practices and Data Protection – Monitoring Workers” was published in 2023. The guidance replaces the “Monitoring at work” chapter of the DPA98 Employment Practices Code.

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