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Tracking your employees at work may seem like a great way to ensure that they are being productive, but employers need to be aware of the potential risks. A recent case in the UK where the Daily Telegraph installed tracking devices at journalists’ desks was met with outrage and has shed light on the perils of employee tracking technology.
It is imperative for employers and employees to know, understand, and implement proper procedural guidelines for the use of tracking and monitoring devices.
Currently, under the Surveillance Devices Act of 1999 and 2007, it is prohibited for an employer or an employee to install, use and maintain tracking devices to determine the geographical location of a person or an object, without the express or implied consent of that person, or without the express or implied consent of a person in lawful possession of that object.
The exceptions to this rule are as follows per section 9(2):
(a) the installation, use or maintenance of a tracking device in accordance with a warrant, emergency authorisation, corresponding warrant or corresponding emergency authorisation,
(b) the installation, use or maintenance of a tracking device in accordance with a law of the Commonwealth,
(c) the installation, use or maintenance of a tracking device for a lawful purpose.
In the absence of these specific waivers, the tracking or monitoring of any person or object, without the express consent of all parties involved, is legally prohibited.
Employers should consider taking the following protective measures when hoping to monitor the location or activities of their employees:
1) All procedures and policies regarding the use of tracking devices in the workplace should be clearly outlined within the employment guidelines and personnel and human resources procedural manuals.
2) Give prior notice to any employee who will be required to be monitored and obtain their consent to do so.
Employees should consider that upon receipt of notice of monitoring devices in the workplace that they have:
1) The opportunity to deny the request.
2) The opportunity to learn how your tracked activities or locations will be used by your employer.
In the event that you are faced with these particular issues and concerns, please contact the offices of Owen Hodge Lawyers on 02 8315 4037. At Owen Hodge Lawyers, we are always happy to assist clients in understanding the full ramifications of any and all of your legal needs.
WRITTEN BY: OWEN HODGE LAWYERS