Employee monitoring - what formalities to install cameras in the company?

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The employer can install cameras and monitor employees in the company. However, there is no freedom here. There are rules that must be strictly followed. What do you need to remember? What formalities should be ensured?

Employee monitoring

Monitoring in and around the workplace may only be hung for strictly defined reasons. They are listed in Art. 222 § 1 of the Labor Code. Employee monitoring must be essential to ensure:

  • employee safety, or
  • property protection, or
  • production control, or
  • keep confidential information, the disclosure of which could harm the employer.

The use of monitoring must be essential to achieving these goals. Employee monitoring is only possible in these cases. Therefore, it cannot be introduced, for example, in order to control the hours of arrival of employees to work.

Records only video, not audio

The Labor Code allows for employee monitoring, but it is about video monitoring. The provision mentions "technical measures for the recording of an image". There is no way that cameras can record sound as well. Therefore, it is unacceptable to install cameras with microphones or to place only microphones in the workplace.

How and when to notify employees?

Employees cannot be "hidden" recording, even when cameras are installed, for example, in corridors or in front of the company entrance. Employees must be informed in advance about the monitoring. Places within camera coverage should be marked.

How to inform the monitoring staff?

If employee monitoring is already in place in the company and a new employee is hired, then before the employee is allowed to work, he must be informed in writing about

  • monitoring purposes,
  • the scope of monitoring,
  • how the monitoring is applied.

If employee monitoring has been installed in a company employing employees, employees must be notified of this before it is launched. This is done "in the manner adopted for a given employer", no later than two weeks before the monitoring is started. This can be done, for example, by sending messages to employees' e-mail boxes, or posting information on the notice board in the workplace.

The employer informs employees about the introduction of monitoring in the manner adopted for a given employer, no later than 2 weeks before its launch.
The employer shall mark the premises and the area monitored in a visible and legible manner, with the use of appropriate signs or sound announcements, not later than one day before its activation.

Obligation to mark rooms with monitoring

Rooms subject to monitoring must be marked in a visible and legible manner. This should be done with appropriate signs or audio announcements. They should appear no later than one day before the monitoring is launched.

General information that the workplace is subject to monitoring is not sufficient. Employees should know which specific rooms are under surveillance.

Arrangement of cameras - where must they not be installed?

Employee monitoring cannot take place in all rooms. The Labor Code lists the following rooms in which, as a rule, there should not be cameras:

  • sanitary rooms,
  • cloakrooms,
  • canteens,
  • smoking rooms,
  • premises made available to the company trade union organization.

Cameras may exceptionally be installed in these rooms. However, the following conditions must then be met:

  • the installation of cameras in these rooms is necessary to ensure the safety of employees or to protect property or to control production, or to keep secret information, the disclosure of which could expose the employer to damage;
  • it will not violate the dignity and other personal rights of the employee;
  • it will not violate the principle of freedom and independence of trade unions.

How not to violate the dignity and personal rights of employees and the principle of freedom and independence of trade unions? The Labor Code indicates the use of techniques in monitoring which make it impossible to identify people staying in these rooms. However, you should be aware that installing cameras in such rooms should be an absolute exception. In the event of an inspection or dispute with employees, the employer will have to prove that it was necessary. A particularly high risk of violating the dignity and personal rights of employees will appear in the case of cameras in sanitary rooms (bathrooms, cloakrooms).

What documents will you need?

An employer who uses employee monitoring must remember that the issues related to the monitoring must be entered in:

  • collective labor agreement - if the employer is covered by it;
  • work regulations - if he is obliged to establish work regulations;
  • notice - if there is no collective agreement or work regulations.

What do you have to enter in these documents? Three things:

  • monitoring goals - these are specified in the Labor Code, no other goals can be entered; the objectives may only be to ensure the safety of employees, protect property, control production or keep confidential information the disclosure of which could harm the employer.
  • the scope of monitoring - e.g. video monitoring, on which the image of employees can be recorded;
  • how the monitoring is used - e.g. what areas are covered by it.

The formalities do not end there. The employer is bound by the GDPR. The employer must comply with Art. 12 and 13 of the GDPR. It is about making the so-called information obligation, i.e. providing the employee by the employer in a transparent manner with the information required by the GDPR in connection with data processing. Start a free 30-day trial period with no strings attached!

How long can recordings be kept?

The employer may store recordings with the images of employees for no longer than three months from the date of recording. Currently, the vast majority of cameras operate in digital technology. The image is saved to disk. The image recorder is set in such a way that a new image is saved on the disk after three months, thus deleting previous recordings.

If the recordings of the image constitute evidence in the proceedings conducted pursuant to the law, the period of their storage is extended - until the final conclusion of the proceedings. The same applies if the recordings are not yet evidence in the proceedings, but the employer has learned that they may constitute evidence in the proceedings. Thanks to this, he does not have to delete them.

What can the recordings be used for?

What can an employer using employee monitoring do with camera recordings? These recordings, where employees are visible, may only be used for the purpose for which they were collected. They cannot be used for other purposes. Recall that these goals can only be:

  • ensuring the safety of employees,
  • protection of property,
  • production control,
  • keeping confidential information, the disclosure of which could harm the employer.

Example 1.

The employer would like to use the video surveillance cameras from the production hall in a promotional film. The video shows employees. The employer cannot use the surveillance footage in the promotional video. This would be unlawful processing of employee data. The recordings would be used for a purpose other than the purpose for which the monitoring was installed.

The rules for implementing workplace monitoring are described in detail in the Labor Code, which the employer is obliged to follow.