Updated 2016.

With CCTV cameras everywhere you go these days, how likely is it that your employer or client will be keeping an eye on you? Basically, quite likely. Employers can monitor staff through a variety of methods  – but it must do so in a way that is consistent with several legal requirements.

Many employers will choose to monitor phone and IT systems usage by their staff, and in some sectors employers will also use CCTV and other methods to monitor their products/goods.

Employers may choose to monitor their staff for any of the following reasons:

  • To safeguard their employees or members of the public (for e.g. health and safety reasons, prevent violence)
  • To protect business interests (prevent crime, theft or misconduct, or misappropriation of intellectual property and business secrets, by employees or members of the public) and ensure that Company policies are not broken
  • To ensure quality of customer services (which can also show training needs for their employees) and assess and improve productivity
  • To comply with legal and regulatory obligations

Most large employers now will have a Social Media Policy which may include monitoring of employees usage of networking websites (and so on). Many employers will also have an IT and Communications Policy also setting out how employees can use their systems.

The laws that cover the area of monitoring include:

  • The Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000 (RIPA)
  • The Telecommunications (Lawful Business Practice)(Interception of Communications) Regulations 2000 (LBP)
  • The Data Protection Act 1988 (including the 2003 Code, Monitoring at Work) – Employers must act in accordance with the DPA and its 8 key principles.

The implied legal obligation of trust and confidence that exists between an employer and employee is also relevant – Employers should not act without reasonable and proper cause, in a way which is likely to destroy or damage the relationship of mutual trust and confidence between themselves and their employees.

However, The Human Rights Act 1998 also plays an important role here as it gives individuals’ a right to privacy and the UK’s laws try to recognise that employees may feel that monitoring by their employer at work is intrusive.

Therefore, employers need to find a balance between an employee’s legitimate expectation to privacy and the Employers interests when they monitor their staff, in any way; and there must be a legitimate purpose for the monitoring.

Because of the need for this balance, the current UK laws distinguish between:

  • Targeted monitoring (of one individual) and systematic monitoring (where all employees or groups of employees are regularly monitored in the same way)
  • Open and covert monitoring
  • The monitoring of already-accessed communications and the monitoring or intercepting of un-accessed electronic communications (e.g. telephone calls, faxes, emails and internet access).  An ‘interception’ happens when the contents of the communication are made available to someone other than the sender or intended recipient. The sender and recipient of the communication must consent to the interception for this to be lawful. ‘Interceptions’ are highly regulated under the RIPA and LBP laws (above).
All these monitoring types can be lawful.

Therefore when Employers set up monitoring systems they must (to ensure the monitoring is legal):

  • Carry out an ‘impact assessment’ to justify the use of CCTV/monitoring – which identifies the purpose behind the monitoring and likely benefits and adverse impacts; alternative ways in which the purpose might be achieved; the obligations that will arise from monitoring e.g. notifying employees, managing data, subject access requests (SAR) by staff; whether the decision is justifiable (compared to the adverse effects the employees may experience).
  • Tell staff the nature, extent and reason for the monitoring that may take place. Staff do not lose their right to personal privacy when they walk through their Employer’s doors and this must be balanced with the Employers right to ensure their employees are not engaging in misconduct.
  • Ensure the monitoring is related to the business and the equipment being monitored is partly or wholly provided for work.
  • Be clear what levels of privacy an employee can or cannot expect when using their employer’s systems to make personal communications and when using restrooms or break areas.
  • Provide an unrecorded telephone line for employees to use in emergencies if all other telephones are routinely recorded/monitored.
  • Be clear what levels of email/internet/phone usage by the employee for personal reasons is permitted and what is not
  • Provide written policy statements about the monitoring
  • Explain how the employer will use the information obtained via monitoring.  An employee may be aware that CCTV cameras exist, for example, but thie will not justify an Employer using CCTV footage in a disciplinary procss if the employee was never told the footage could be used for that purpose.  For example – an employee is entitled to assume the CCTV will be used for security purposes only unless they are told otherwise.
  • Ensure those involved in the monitoring are aware of their confidentiality obligations.
  • Explain how the information will be stored and processed in accordance with the Data Protection Act, and who has access to this information.
  • Allow employees to voice any concerns they have, in confidence, and ensure they are given the chance to explain or challenge any footage used as part of a disciplinary process.  Employers, however, are not required to get consent from the employees to monitor them if the above steps have been carried out.

Targeted monitoring

Generally, monitoring should normally be carried out by an employer in an open and systematic way only, unless targeted and/or covert monitoring is justified.

Targeted/covert monitoring will usually only be justified where there are grounds to suspect criminal activity or serious malpractice by the employee in question and the monitoring is necessary to prevent or detect this crime or malpractice. Such monitoring should be only carried out to a set timeframe and as part of a specific investigation and that the risk of intrusion on ‘innocent’ workers is considered.  This monitoring would usually then lead to a disciplinary hearing where the employer believes the employee has breached company policies.

If this targeted monitoring provides information inadvertently of other malpractice by other workers, this evidence should not be used against those workers unless it is a case of serious gross misconduct.  Where the misconduct is minor in nature, use of the ‘secret’ footage to discipline workers will generally not be allowed.

Personal data collected through monitoring must be for legitimate purposes and cannot be used for any other purpose than originally intended.

Surveillance of staff outside of the workplace may also be acceptable if the employer can demonstrate it was ‘justifiable’ (they have credible reasons to suggest an employee is involved in wrongdoing or breaching company policies) and ‘proportionate’ (the employer did not go any further than was necessary in its use of surveillance).

Basically, any monitoring that is done by the employer must be proportionate to the issue the employer seeks to address.

In a 2014 case, Atkinson v Community Gateway Association, the Employment Appeal Tribunal held that the Employer accessing an employee’s emails, in the course of a disciplinary investigation into the employee’s conduct, did not amount to an unjustified interference with the employees’ private life – the employee did not have a reasonable expectation of privacy in circumstances where he had sent emails from his work account in breach of the e-mail policy (which he himself had drafted and was responsible for enforcing!) and the e-mails were not marked ‘personal/private’.  The fact that Mr Atkinson had used the email system in breach of the Association’s email policy was discovered as a result of its legitimate investigation into his conduct.  Employers should bear in made that staff may have a reasonable expectation of privacy at work if the Employer does not have an ‘Email and Internet Use Policy (or similar) which is made known to all staff.


If you need help you can contact the Information Commissioner’s Office, the UK’s independent authority set up to uphold information rights in the public interest, promoting openness by public bodies and data privacy for individuals.

If you are an Employer and need ongoing professional help with any staff/freelance issues, or a Contractor/Freelancer/Employee with a complicated employment related problem, then talk to Lesley at The HR Kiosk  – a Human Resources Consultancy for small businesses – our fees are low to reflect the pressures on small businesses and you can hire us for as much time as you need.

Please note that the advice given on this website and by our Advisors is guidance only and cannot be taken as an authoritative interpretation of the law. It can also not be seen as specific advice for individual cases. Please also note that there are differences in legislation in Northern Ireland.


    i have been given a written warning for starting our shift 20 min late on 2x ocassions and also allowing the men on my shift to have an extra 15 min 2x for tea breaks as i was in charge of the shift on nightshift i was the only one given a written warning at no time when the cameras were put in place were we told they would be used to monitor workers only for security reasons and as far AS I AM AWARE NEVER WAS THEIR A IMPACT ASSESSMENT DONE ON THE EFFECT THIS WOULD HAVE ON THE WARKFORCE IS THIS GROUNDS FOR AN APPEAL ON MY PART AS THEY ONLY FOUND ME GUILTY WITH CAMERA EVIDENCE

    • lesleyfurber

      Hi Robet, well you have a right to appeal anyway so yes this is certainly something you can raise. Good luck. Regards, Lesley, Workline

  • Yvonne

    Any help would be appreciated …Yesterday evening I got to work, to find my job list entailed, among Frying, scrubbing floors washing up and generally cleaning everything to close up for the night, at the fish shop I work in. An extra job was to strip all the area around the rumbler, tiles potato table, tiles on the walls and floor, giving it a proper good scrub as I do once a week. Today at home i received a text message on my mobile, it read “What time did the tiles in back get done? do i need to check on the video?” I did the job as always, and I did it properly. My Boss Picks at everything I do because she hates me I always do my work correctly and all the dirty jobs are allocated to me, no’one else get these jobs to do, they just get the general jobs . I have many notes She has left for me in the past. but todays text while i am at home “What time did the tiles in back get done? do i need to check on the video?” is this legal?

    • lesleyfurber

      Hi Yvonne, it’s going to depend if you knew that there was video coverage being taken in the shop and what it is used for. Regards, Lesley, Workline

  • lucy

    there is a shop in our area that the shop keeper has used sound on the cctv and used it against his staff he told 1 member of staff what the other 2 were saying he then cut the lads hours as a result of this is he allowed to use the sound and is he allowed to tell other people what he has heard?

    • lesleyfurber

      Hi Lucy, the answer is probably yes to both, if the staff are aware that the CCTV camera is there and what it is used for. Regards, Lesley, Workline

  • les

    without notice cctv cameras are being installed at my work place , i only found this out as i return to work after i had finished ,the men who where there doing this said they where working alnight to get the cameras up and running by morning,i said that nobody said anything about cameras being installed ,and the man said the boss did’nt want anybody to know ,and that they where more cameras then needed inside and out ,even looking at the toilet door and 4 in the canteen and one camera at each work station ,he also said that it will cover every single square foot and even some cameras that you cant see ,should we have been told of these cameras before

    • lesleyfurber

      Hi Les, yes your employer should have informed you the cameras were going up and the reason for them. Regards, Lesley, Workline

  • sandra

    can my supervisor take pictures of me without permission

    • lesleyfurber

      Hi Sandra, it’s going to partly depend on the reason the picture was taken. Regards, Lesley, Workline

  • Disgruntled

    We currently have security camera’s around our workplace in strategic
    positions to monitor the entrance’s etc, and also one by the clock
    machine which everyone is happy with, however, yesterday a camera was
    installed pointing directly at the smoking shelter. The only reason we
    can imagine this was put there is for monitoring the length of
    employee’s breaks . Is this legal ? Can they discipline someone for over
    staying their break by getting caught on camera ?

    • lesleyfurber

      Hi Disgruntled, thanks for your message. They should tell you that the camera is there and why. But yes, they could discipline you using evidence from the camera for over-staying a break. Regards, Lesley, Workline

  • asktina1st

    can I put a cctv in passage outside guests shared bathroom in my guesthouse as we have found guests trying to break into our linen cupboard digital padlock and also a guest slept in an empty room as it was left unlocked but the door was closed. Guests can also try to break into rooms at night time as our staff are here 9am to 8pm only and though some of us live here we do not usually go upstairs to the guest rooms after 8pm as we stop work at 8pm.

    • lesleyfurber

      Hi Tina, thanks for your message. I’m afraid I can’t answer this for you as this comments section is for employment related queries. However this would sound a perfectly reasonable thing for you to do – I would search for a more appropriate forum to get the answer though. Regards, Lesley, Workline

  • NicholasWarner

    I, like many bus drivers in London are being spied on when, for example, a complaint or some other incident happens on a Vehicle that has some cost – the company looks at footage before and after said event and when finding a staff infringement disciplines driver for another altogether unrelated event as happened with me. I was sacked last year for using a mobile in the cab of a broken down vehicle. As the company investigated the engine breakdown they caught me in the cab with a mobile, I actually won my job back through an Employment Tribunal but not for a data protection act reason. Could I have a case against said employer?

    • lesleyfurber

      Hi Nicholas, thanks for your message. If you went to Tribunal about this did they not have a view on the CCTV footage? Regards, Lesley, Workline

      • NicholasWarner

        No they did not. It seems the Industrial Tribunal system being a lower court can kind of make up their mind based on “impressions” not actual hard law – for example it is not a criminal offense to use a mobile phone whilst in the driver’s seat or cab of a vehicle if the engine is off and yet there are and have been many occasions that drivers of PCV or Bus have been successfully sacked because a company rule of no tolerance has been breached. In my case I had a good case And a good judge – I did not have a barrister. The judge pointed to a precedent set in a higher, Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT). The issue of law relating to misuse of Data Protection Act like that of the road traffic act does not seem to apply in an Employment Tribunal. It may, however be true that criminal or civil law is taken into account in an Appeal Tribunal. Unfortunately I am not qualified to say.

        • lesleyfurber

          Hi Nicholas I would suggest you contact http://ico.org.uk/ as they are the UK’s independent authority set up to uphold information rights in the public interest, promoting openness by public bodies and data privacy for individuals. Regards, Lesley, Workline

  • Lisa Robertson

    Hi, can my son’s employers watch him on cctv, he has got to go through a referral now, just because of a reaction to a comment from a customer, by reaction I mean, a customer came to his place of work and said, “can’t stop to talk to you, it might get you into trouble” my son put his head to hand as if to say “what’s going on now” (there are a few issues at the workplace at moment) and because of that they are saying that he has been talking outside work just because of that…is this legal to watch him on and also to continue to take it to the extreme?

    • lesleyfurber

      Hi Lisa, thanks for your message. There are circumstances his Employer can use CCTV and they are explained above – but the Employer must tell the employees what they are doing and why. Good luck. Lesley, Workline

  • jane

    Hi, I work for a large company with multiple store locations. A while ago they introduced a monitoring policy. I have cctv in my store to monitor customer theft which was fitted with my companies agreement although not by them. Currently the company is being audited and my area manager has said she is coming with an auditor to review the footage. I have cooperated with this request even though the visit will occur when i am on annual leave.
    On saturday i was doing a quick cctv check, mistakenly hit the wrong time on one camera and discovered two men in my shop after hours fitting a secret camera above the till area. Although i am certain we have no staff theft around the till, this has made me feel really sick considering i have a camera trained on the till anyway and they will be reviewing that footage. Do i have any rights? I have chosen to work under cameras but the fact a secret one has been fitted has made me feel violated.

    • lesleyfurber

      hi Jane, thank for your message. I presume that nobody knows that you now know about the secret camera? The only thing you can do really is find someone you trust in a more senior position to talk to and explain what you know now and ask for their advice. It’s something the company should not have done unless they have suspicions of wrong-going. Good luck. Regards, Lesley, Workline

  • Bigfrank

    I work on engineering in a bus garage and the potted history of surveillance is as follows; firstly, and with full understanding and compliance they were fitted outside all around, mainly the big old type ones seen in all industrial areas. Some of these were uprated to more sophisticated dome ones. Then on 2 occasions, again with good reason and prior notification covert ones were fitted inside the garage to catch a thieving employee, and illicit “clocking in/out” although the latter one was later used against someone washing their car (doh!) . More recently however and without prior consultation or full information, dome cameras were fitted all around the workshop “for Health and Safety reasons” which is still understandable, although a bizarre “Kai Zan” talk just after they were fitted seemed to me to hint that software is available that can show the path of any given person walking about…I hope not. The most recent events though I feel truly violate our privacy, and that was the fitting of one in our rest room (NOT toilet, this isn’t the US) which is just a room with chairs, tables, a modest 32″ TV supplied by the social club and various cooking/cooling appliances provided by ourselves. There was no prior warning of this but as ever “H&S” was quoted as the reason despite the camera pointing away from the most dangerous item in there , the tea water boiler , and the possible theft of the of the equipment. All this came to a head when the depot engineering manager called us all to a meeting basically to tell us we were crap, but we refused to hold the meeting initially because of the camera which had been “coming out soon” for over a month. In view of the imminent removal, he authorised covering the camera, enlisted his foreman to find some tape who in turn got an employee to tape the cam. This resulted in the suspension of the manager. two foremen and a fact finding for the employee, despite assurances that the camera isn’t being constantly monitored at HQ or somewhere. We have now boycotted the room but the company seem in no hurry to remove the camera which has destroyed what little industrial relations we had. We also have good reason that the sound is being used because the employee was questioned about not using a stepladder to do the deed, something I had actually joked out loudly at the time, with my back to the camera. Maybe its all above board, “Dave” has made sure of that with his employer favouring legislation but all we want to do is have just some place to relax without being constantly monitored and I for one am feeling genuinely stressed by it all and wish I could leave but I guess its the same everywhere.

    • lesleyfurber

      Hi Bigfrank, you could contact the Information commissioners if you want to see if there is anything that can be done about this – details are above. Regards, Lesley, Workline

  • Lisa

    Hi – I work for a small recruitment company and they installed a camera about a year ago, since then everyone else has left except me and another person as I find it quite intrusive. They keep telling me they havent got it on but I can hear myself ecoing when I speak to them on the phone. Can I tell them to take it down?

    • lesleyfurber

      Hi Lisa, thanks for your message. I don’t think you can tell them to take it down but you can ask them why they need it, what their reasons are – it might be worth pointing out that people are leaving because of it! Good luck. Lesley, The HR Kiosk

  • terri simpson

    hi my manager came up to me the other day and said that the general manager had been watching us and we were not doing anything and that we could be rotating sweets we were only stood for two minutes as we had no customers can he do this

    • hi Terri, yes they can do this as long as they have explained to you that they are doing it, or they have reasons for monitoring you covertly – all the reasons are explained in the article above. Regards, Lesley, The HR Kiosk

  • sutton

    If theres evidence in view of cctv and its about me can i ask to see the cctv from my manager

    • Hi Sutton, the simple answer is yes, if they are accusing you of something that they have on CCTV then you should be allowed to see this. Regards, Lesley, The HR Kiosk

      • sutton

        Its nothing ive done its more of someone else has done and i would like to prove who has done it thanks

        • Hi, if it’s not about you, then it’s unlikely they would let you see this; but they should view this themselves and make a decision based on what they are looking at. Lesley

  • Rayna

    Hello I work in a hospital and it has come to my attention that two guards were caught sleeping in duty, the whole hospital lights are on part from 4 lights above my head at the cctv desk. My boss has told me we have to keep them on now and I’ve tested if they are watching the cameras from the other hospital and they are cause they called asking for lights to be turn on. Is this classed as spying by law? Cause it don’t seem right to me

    • Hi Rayna, if your employer has explained to you why they need CCTV and it is reasonable for what they need to keep watch on, then it is not unreasonable. Regards, Lesley, The HR Kiosk

  • Jazzzy786

    In our workplace they have installed cameras everywhere. We were told initially the cameras are only there for security but recently a worker was disciplined for not doing his work properly and recorded CCTV camera footage of him was used as evidence. We have now been told through word of mouth of supervisors that all of us are being monitored for breaches of discipline. Can they change their CCTV policy and use recorded footage? Don’t they need they need to tell us of any changes to policy in writing? Also don’t they need to display a notice saying you are being recorded by CCTV like in shops?

    • Hi Jazzy, thanks for your message. Yes, if they are using the cameras to monitor staff then they should tell you this. I’m not sure if they need to display notices though – you could contact the ICO to ask them, details are above. Regards, Lesley, The HR Kiosk

  • jan pickering

    I was called into a meeting at work on Friday as my boss was shown a private email I had sent to my colleague who I thought I could trust. The email was sent from my mobile phone in my own time in my own home and I clearly ask my colleague in the email to keep it private. I mentioned our boss seemed to be favouriting a different colleague who does no work and putting too much pressure on us and how unfair it was. I also said when my probation period is up I will switch departments and advised my colleague to do the same and we should only do our share of the work and stop doing the lazy colleagues work. My employer has threatened to sack me and said it shows bad character and I could have lost my colleague his job if he just stopped suddenly working as hard as before. I was terribly upset at being betrayed and having my private email read from a third party and to be threatened with the sack. I have to go back in to work tomorrow and I know now it will never be the same as my employer was upset and offended by what he read but had no right to. Please can you offer me some advice on my legal rights and privacy rights I am worried of how I might be treated from now on. I have been there 6 months and there is no problem with the standard of my work.

    • Hi Jan, thanks for your message. I’m not clear, did you send the e-mail to your colleague at their work address? As if you did then that is a problem. I’m not sure what privacy rights you have here (I don’t know in this context), if you were talking about your Employer and their practices, they may have the right to know; it is understandable the Employer was upset (even if you were correct in what you said about the favourism; it would be the other comments you made and they way you did this that will have upset them). You might find this article useful for background http://www.crunch.co.uk/small-business-advice/2014/05/09/social-networking-and-work-can-they-go-together/
      Regards, Lesley, The HR Kiosk

  • Martin Archer

    Hello. I have been a contracting consultant with a UK company for more than two years. This week I was informed that my emails had been monitored, no reason was given. Some “inappropriate” emails were mentioned, which were between myself and a work colleague, where I suggested I might not continue contracting for this company. As a consequence, the company decided not to renew my consulting contract. I have no evidence that other staff members were having their emails monitored. There is a general statement in the company’s staff handbook that staff monitoring may be carried out but of course I am a contractor and the staff handbook is of no relevance to me as I am not “staff”. My question is this… should the company reasonably be expected to have specifically notified me that they were planning to monitor my emails?

    • Hi Martin, thanks for your message. If the company had reason to believe they needed to monitor your e-mails then it is very unlikely they would have told you that they were going to do this before-hand. Regards, Lesley, The HR Kiosk

      • Martin Archer

        Thanks Lesley, but my key question is… under current legislation, SHOULD they have told me?

        • Not as far as I know Martin, if they believed ‘covert’ monitoring was necessary. You could challenge whether it was necessary. Lesley

  • Claire Muncaster

    Hi my name claire I work at tesco as a security guard for tss and we have a tesco working watching are every move she writs down every think we are doing. She is doing this for a member of staff we do we stand with this as it make us feel uncomfortable. Thanks

    • Hi Claire, you need to talk to your own employer (tss) to see if they have agreed this level of surveillance with Tesco’s and why it is necessary. Good luck. Lesley, The HR Kiosk

  • Bar Poet Stallard

    Hello, my father works as a cleaner at a specific site, the manager has been spying on him via cameras, which are of a legal nature, but has not made my father aware of the monitoring, other members of staff have been told by this manager to also spy on him, to check how long it takes him to clean, or how many cig/toilet breaks etc: he take.
    My father missed two items, a slice of food and a crayon, which he was then sacked on the spot for, and told him his staff can clean for cheaper.

    He has not told my father monitoring will be taken place, no statements have been written, and this is also an infringement of his privacy and human rights, as checking to see how long his “breaks are”

    My.father is the only targeted individual, and no specific investigation had not been taken place.

    Would you be able to contact me please for help and advice.


  • wouldrather notsay

    Yesterday I thought I had turned my phone off and I hadn’t. Someone rang, I was immediately taken into the office and put under “counselling” and was told to be caught again I can be fired. Are these data protection policies a little too harsh?

    • Hi, I’m not sure this is data protection related? But your Employer can set their own policies for the ‘standards’ they require, depending on the business they are in, and as long as everyone is treated consistently this may not be harsh. Good luck. Regards, Lesley, The HR Kiosk

  • Olivia

    Hi I work for a retail company and was called into office for an ongoing investigation today which was about: to authorise returns or to open a cash dark we have to use the managers codes, I was not given my own but one random say my manager did give me them but only to use that day they were given to me on. She written it down on a post it note ages ago but I’m not sure why because I can’t remember it could have been due to being busy or to her going upstairs or something so I put that in my pocket. Weeks or even months later i found it still in my pocket and it had been washed I didn’t think anything of it and didn’t think it was a problem for me to use it so I did but it was on a day that the person wasnt in work (the persons code who I was using) I wasn’t being sneaky when I used i thought I was doing the right thing as I was removing the receipts to sort them out but I accidentally left it logged in which meant I served someone on the other persons log in while they were not there and at the time I just didn’t think and when I get authorised usually it’s by someone standing near me or by calling someone To do it However due to remembering the codes I have sometimes used them when say I felt that it was ok to do it myself for example an exchange, I didn’t think it was an issue because most people have authorising codes and some of the staff have even said they don’t know why I don’t have codes myself because if I did this issue would not have happened, im not a thief a liar or a sneaky person I made a mistake and I done it without thinking anything of it, if I had I wouldn’t have done it because that’s not the type of person I am, what would you make of this I am worried as this is my first job and its a genuine mistake

    • HI Olivia, thanks for your message. When you get the chance (either during or after the investigation ,if they call you to a disciplinary hearing) you need to explain all of this to them, it’s important they hear your side of the story. Regards, Lesley, The HR Kiosk

  • Mary Martinez

    I recently installed cameras in my office and I told everyone that we have done this. Do I need to let them know in writing as well?
    Thank you

    • Hi Mary, you don’t need to put it in writing, but you can if you think that could be useful for you. Regards, Lesley, The HR Kiosk

  • violetta

    I work in a small restaurant and the owner has installed cctv last February all over the place… in the office, 2 in the kitchen and 3 in the floor. Initially, he didn’t say anything regarding the reasons why he did so. Thus, I and my colleges expressed our concerns and asked him for a meeting, that finally took place just last week. Yesterday night we received an email in which were listed his reasons, which are:

    – safeguard ​employees or members of the public

    – to protect business interests

    – to ensure quality of customer services (which can also show training needs for employees) and assess and improve productivity

    ​- to monitor activity of our suppliers delivering goods.

    Nothing else mentioned.

    Now, the funny thing is that, even though he monitors us in his home, we actually see whether he is connected through the PC in our office. In addition, we are also watched when there are no customer (our break time, for example) and I do know that a guy has been fired after the manager heard a private conversation (I admitted it in the meeting of above). Also, there is nothing written on the contract nor we have a handbook in which are properly explained the restaurant’s policy on this matter. I would avoid taking legal action… but I would simply like an advice or a proper paper in which are explained the wrong things he is doing. Trust me, it is really frustrating and even though we did express our concerns, he doesn’t seem to care much.

    Can you help me, please?

    Thank you very much

    • hi Violetta, if you read the article above it explains there what your employer should and can do. Regards, Lesley, The HR Kiosk

  • Stuart Wood

    I got a video shared to my Facebook wall about my boss he seen it and now I might be getting the boot has he got any right in doing that since I’ve done nothing someone else shared it to me and as far as I know I don’t think you can stop things been shared to your Facebook wall

    • Hi Stuart, thanks for your message. it’s obviously going to depend on what your boss is annoyed about and how it affects the company’s reputation. You obviously need to tell him it was ‘shared’ to you – but you can change your FB privacy settings so nothing appears on your own page until you review it, and I think this includes shared posts too. Regards, Lesley, The HR Kiosk

  • Alana morris

    I was taken into a room and questioned on camera with no witness and no warning this was going to happen, I was told if I did not sign the consent I’d be accused of the crime. Which is theft. I was incredibly upset and felt. Bullied is this even legal?

    • HI Alana, I presume this is related to a disciplinary and this is not good practice not to give you a warning this will happen. But it will depend on all of the circumstances. Regards, Lesley, The HR Kiosk

  • Carl munn

    I got called in the office today cos my boss said they saw us have 18min for break instead of 15 mins lol ….can they use cctv to check how long we have for are breaks ? Thanks carl

    • Hi Carl, yes they can use CCTV to check this as long as you are aware that they are doing it. Regards, Lesley, The HR Kiosk

  • Emma

    My old employers have a mystery shopper video of me and been showing it to everyone in the shop without my consent is this allowed?

    • Hi Emma, if you agreed that the video could be shown – for example if it was written in your contract of employment then you have given consent to it if you agreed to the contract – then yes this is ok. Regards, Lesley, The HR Kiosk

  • Karl

    My employer demanded to see a text on my personal mobile, i felt pressured into giving it to them. Is this allowed

    • Hi Karl, they would need good reason to do this, so it depends what it was about. Regards, Lesley, The HR Kiosk

  • sharon

    my employer constantly views us on cctv,he calls several times throughout the day about this,asking us to do things or telling us off about something,its driving me nuts,i am supposed to be the manager..any thoughts??

    • Hi Sharon, thanks for your message. It’s difficult to know what to say really, did he ever agree with you what the CCTV would be used for, if not he should have. Can you have a meeting with him about it, to reinforce the fact you are the manager and don’t need his constant intervention? Good luck. Regards, Lesley, The HR Kiosk

  • Kevin Lenaghan

    we are being spyed on in staff rest room purely to see if we are sitting around doing nothing.can this be done and does it invade staff room privacy?

    • Hi Kevin, your employer needs to explain to you why this is necessary; if they have a legitimate reason to do it then it is probably something they can do. Regards, Lesley, The HR Kiosk

  • Sandra

    I am due to be put through disciplinary because my boss saw a private conversation on a personal mobile phone between myself and a colleague. I was off sick at the time and stating a personal opinion. My boss saw the message on my colleagues phone whilst she was in a meeting – she did not have permission to access the mobile phone. Is this a breach of personal data? Can I be disciplined for this?

    • Hi Sandra, it might be worth you contacting the Information Commissioners Office, the details are above. Regards, Lesley, The HR Kiosk

  • wendy

    Hello, I am a carer for an elderly lady with learning difficulties who employs me. The council that pays her the independent living allowance have spied on me a couple of times to check I’m doing the hours they are paying for. what I’d like to know is , is this allowed even tho they gave me nor my employer no prior warnings to me being observed ever, not in a contract or verbally.
    With my employer and her main carer we have an agreement to my hours being slightly flexible, for example if I am late picking her up I take her home later or make it up another day. the council don’t see this, they have seen me picking her up late and dropping her off back home on time and have told my employer , very rudely, (the lady with learning difficulties ) that if this carries on she will have no PA.
    Thank you in advance and I look forward to your advise .

    • Hi Wendy, thanks for your message. You would need to find out somehow what the Counci’s policy on is surveillance of carers of people they pay the allowance to; I’m not sure how you would do this, but I’m sure it would be in the information they send to the employer. They may have a policy that states they can do this and it may be acceptable if they can demonstrate the need to do this; but I imagine the employer or someone who represents them should agree to this surveillance. Good luck. Regards, Lesley, The HR Kiosk

  • Dave G

    My employer viewed vehicle cctv to view damage I caused to my vehicle whilst making a delivery , but they viewed the whole day and have issued a written warning for use of mobile phone whilst driving. I wasn’t using the phone at the time of the incident , so it is a separate issue . Is this allowed .
    Many thanks , Dave

    • Hi Dave, thanks for your message. Generally, I would say they shouldn’t have done this; they need to explain why they thought this was reasonable to do. You do have a right of appeal against the warning, so you might want to do that? Regards, Lesley, The HR Kiosk

  • Dotty Dot

    Hi I work in a restaurant. My boss checked ccry cameras every morning to look at us working. There’s no issue with misconduct. He basically checks and questions our efficiency. I need to say we are really hard working and dedicated team. We do have occasional chat while doing our cleaning jobs at the end of shifts but he questions everything. People are scared and feel really controlled by obsessive boss. We have other issues with him but I just wanted to ask about cctv. Do you think this is legal?

    • Hi Dotty, he would need to explain to you why this is reasonable and if he can justify how this impacts on you. Regards, Lesley, The HR Kiosk

  • Kevan Stewart

    I was recently dismissed with alleged gross misconduct from a security position working in a gatehouse at a distribution company. During the company breaktimes employees are allowed to go off site to get meals etc. and have to exit the site through a “turnstyle” which is “pass” operated but not all employees have obtained a pass as the employee a lot of agency workers, so we (two) in the gatehouse have to overide the system by pressing a button to unlock the turnstyle.
    One one such occasion whilst sat next to the overide button waiting for people to exit i was accused of falling asleep as i had my head down and not looking straight at the window observing the turnstyle. an allegation was made by one of the warehouse staff that he thought i was asleep and was investigated by my employer. CCTV footage was obtained from the camera installed in the gatehouse for purposes of monitoring the staff seach policy in place. this camera was situated just aboe and stightly in front of my sitting position and does show myself with my head down resting on my chest for a brief period and a longer period of approx 5-6 minutes and my employers took this as being asleep during this period,although i have denied this. My collegue i was working with has denied seeing me asleep and at no time had to wake me up, the cctv footage does not show that i had my eyes closed at the time of the allegation of being asleep.
    The member of warehouse staff that made the inital allegation refused to make any statement to the fact that he did observe me actually asleep.
    My employer went ahead and dismissed me as in their eyes with the images from the CCTV i had been asleep on d
    I have never had any issues with my work previously with this or any other employer.
    I have appealed against their decision and explained the situation, but they have upheld their decision.
    This was a new employer of only 3 weeks as they had taken over the security contract from another security company which I had been working for for 14 months.
    Is the use of the CCTV footage legal in the company dismssing me for gross misconduct.

    • Hi Kevan, thanks for your message. I’m really not sure about this, so I would suggest you contact the Information Commissioners Office (link above) and see what they think. Good luck. Regards, Lesley, The HR Kiosk

  • gazza

    The company I work for recently installed forward facing cameras in our vehicles. I asked at the time ‘do they record sound’ I was told no. It has come to light since then that they do. Where do I stand bearing mind that I have since then made numerous phone calls to my banks, wife, friends, brokers and other people giving out passwords account numbers card details political views etc all have been recorded and stored unencrypted for at least 48 hours.

  • A tale of two offices…One judges me on the job – if it’s ‘pristine’ after 30mins I can go, and they still pay for 2hrs, as a retainer.
    The other judged on Cams & minutes, and despite the place being equally ‘pristine’, I find myself out of a job with no warning or disclosure that Cams were in use…
    Jobsworth springs to mind.

  • joe

    Hi my boss has hidden a camera in a cardboard box and not notified us is this allowed

    • Hi Joe, thanks for your message. If he has not informed you of this, then unless he has justifiable reasons for ‘covert’ monitoring (see above) then this wouldn’t normally be allowed. Regards, Lesley, The HR Kiosk

  • Janet

    If an employer used CCTV, which is installed on the vehicle being driven, to look for whether money is not being taken for tickets or not…but, in doing so, finds the driver using a mobile phone whilst driving, can he use that CCTV evidence for dismissing the employee, or not – based on using the mobile phone whilst driving?

    • Hi Janet, the employer should tell staff if the evidence can be used for anything else. However, it would be worth reading this case about a bus driver and a mobile phone http://www.woodfines.co.uk/employment-law-fair-dismissal-strict-policies
      Regards, Lesley Furber, The HR Kiosk

      • Janet

        Thank you for this Lesley…and the case almost echoes entirely the situation under question…the staff were warned about the cameras, their purpose and the potential use of any evidence from them…

  • James Bennett

    I am going to be disaplined at work but they have no proof of what I have to supposed to have done wich I may add I haven’t done anything

    • Hi James they need proof or reasonable belief. You need to talk about this at your disciplinary hearing. Regards, Lesley, The HR Kiosk

  • gemma

    Can a member of a committee sit at home on his phone and computer and watch the staff on the cctv? Is this illegal?

    • Hi Gemma, it’s going to depend if the staff know about the CCTV and the employer has explained why it is being used and can justify this. Regards, Lesley, The HR Kiosk

  • matt

    My work place has CCTV on there vehicles and now I have had a chat with the manager saying they want to turn on the audio to to listen in on us… they say it’s for our benifit but they do nothing but prosecute us with the CCTV and I’m sure it’s not in our interest at all… is there any rights that say this is elligal? Your advice would be appreciated.

  • Steve Tricker

    I have recently been dismissed from my warehouse manager role. No reason given. However The company installed CCTV camera,s inside and outside the warehouse. We were told they were to check on people if there were stock irregularities. These cameras can be acced remotely. Is this legal as we thought they could be used to spy on us. Would appreciate your advice

    • Hi Steve, their use of CCTV may be legal, it depends on what they told you they could be used for and whether they used the footage reasonably. You should have been given a reason for your dismissal, in writing, and given a chance to appeal this (and have a proper disciplinary procedure followed). If you have worked there for over 2 years then you have a right to claim unfair dismissal, which you do by contacting Acas first. Good luck. Regards, Lesley, The HR Kiosk

      • Steve Tricker

        Hi Lesley. We were told it was in case they suspected theft and not to spy on us. There was no consultation and they can be accessed remotely either from computer from head office ormeven a mobile phone. There are several all over the warehouse. I was not given a reason for my dismissal. Like all employees i was on a years probationary period. Did not know about this until we recieved out contracts last October. I started in May last year. I have not done anything wrong but have seen a brief film on fb of a couple of warehouse ops larking around when i was out and wonder if they saw this on the CCTV cameras

        • Hi Steve, you need to appeal your dismissal, send them a letter saying you wish to exercise your right to appeal. Regards, Lesley

          • Steve Tricker

            Hi Lesley will contact ACAS as have only been employed by this company for 10 months although they do make a habit of letting people go without notice.many thanks for your advice

  • Dávid Juhász

    I’m working at a small company in England. It’s a family runned business. We are monitored by CCTV. Everybody who works there knows it but nobody has been told about it. The owner of the company, if he has nothing to do, usually watching the employees on his computer. There is one camera at the canteen as well. Last day just after midnight I went to the canteen to enjoy my breaktime. I sat just under the camera to eat my food. Now listen! Just after I took a seat I heard a strange noise. The camera was moving towards me and then back. It was the first time I saw the camera is moving. I asked my workmates about it and they said they saw the same as well. The situation was more than uncomfortable for me. One of them said that the camera is moving automatically but I don’t think so. I think the owner is watching us from his house. Do you think it’s against the law or not? David

  • aimee

    My managers monitor the CCTV footage in my workplace to make sure us employees are doing our jobs properly. they have the footage constantly in their offices and 2 of them have it on their phone so they can watch it from home. is this legal?

  • anne

    I have recently been informed on the qt that my tea breaks r being timed by the admin assistant and acting manager is this allowed

    • Hi Anne, yes if you have a time limit to your tea breaks then they can do this, although they ought to tell you if they are and why. Regards, Lesley, The HR Kiosk

  • Kerrie Small

    Hi. I work a ina very small company and they have cctv. My boss told me that I hadnt completed a task and when I tried to say I had he shouted that I hadnt because he watched me on cctv. Now i knew that I had so I waited until he left and checked the cctv myself. It showed I had done my job and my boss was lying. I dont know why. My issue now is that when i tried to come out of the cctv I accidentally logged out. I coudnt get back in, My questions… Will the cctv have continued to record over the weekend? Was I allowed to look at the cctv?

    • Hi Kerri, can’t help you on whether it would have continued to record or not as I have no idea, it would depend on the system? I doubt you should have looked at the CCTV if you are not authorised to do so. If your boss was going to take action against you (disciplinary action) then he would need to show you the footage at that point. Regards, Lesley, The HR Kiosk