There are several means of surveillance of the employees, but are they all lawful with regard to labor law and respect for privacy? Here’s what you need to know.
Is employee supervision legal?
Nowadays, it is not uncommon for companies to use various methods of monitoring employees, for various reasons: prevention against theft in companies, control of working time, security, etc. However, the use of such methods is strictly regulated, so as not to undermine the individual freedoms of employees. In addition, the Labor Code stipulates that an employer may resort to a surveillance procedure provided that the infringement of individual and collective rights and freedoms is justified by the task to be performed and proportionate to the aim pursued.
The employer is authorized to access the computer equipment made available to employees and to consult the files on the computer, provided that they are strictly professional, and not identified as “personal” by the employee. The employer also has access to the professional mailboxes of his employees, but can’t consult e-mails identified as “personal”. Similarly, he is not allowed to view e-mail messages sent from an employee’s home address, even if they have been sent from his workstation. With regard to internet connections, the employer is authorized to consult the professionals.
The employer is authorized to record the duration and the origin of the calls made from the fixed telephones of each workstation. He is also free to consult SMS messages received on an employee’s mobile phone, provided that they have not been identified as “personal” by the employee.
The consultation of documents
Any document in cabinets, drawers, or in the office of the employees is presumed to have a professional value. Therefore, the employer is free to consult them. However, he is not allowed to consult any document identified as personal or even documents in a locked cabinet or drawer.
Before setting up a video surveillance system, the employer is obliged to inform the employees of this process, by any means. If the employee has not been informed of the presence of a CCTV system, no image can be used against him to base a dismissal decision, including in the context of a theft. The employer will also have to consult the staff representatives to inform them.
In addition, be aware that the continuous video surveillance of employees in their workplace is considered abusive. Therefore, it can’t be general and permanent. It is also forbidden to set up a video surveillance system in the staff rooms, such as a rest room, a washroom or cloakrooms. Finally, the employer is not allowed to keep the recorded images for more than one month.
The employer may set up a geolocation system for vehicles used by employees under certain conditions. First, it must obligatorily inform, by any means, the employees concerned of the establishment of such a process. He will then have to consult the staff representatives. Lastly, the geolocation device can only be set up if its use is justified by the nature of the tasks to be performed and proportionate to the aim pursued. Note that geolocation is prohibited for employees who are free to organize their work.
The spinning of an employee is legal, and can be entrusted to a professional of the investigation. However, it must be performed under certain conditions. First, the means implemented must be in sync with the aim pursued, and the employee’s private life must be respected. For example, it is forbidden to photograph the target anywhere other than in a public place. Also, the spinning can only take place during the working hours of the employee. He is not accountable for his activities outside his working hours, as part of his private life. Finally, the employee must be warned in advance of the means likely to be put in place to monitor. If one of these conditions is not respected, then the investigation report done by a private investigator cannot be presented in court.
For more information on the intervention of a private detective or an investigative professional for surveillance of an employee in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, talk to our experts today.