POSTED: November 08 2019
Legitimacy of monitoring

Legitimacy of monitoring

advo hr explores monitoring in the workplace, where its appropriate and how this can be done lawfully.

Employers should be aware of Article 8 of the Human Rights Act 1988 and Data Protection Act 2018 to ensure they are lawfully monitoring employees in the workplace. Monitoring must be proportionate with a legitimate aim. Businesses should be mindful of the employees’ right to a private life.

Within the appropriate policies it is important that employees are made aware of what is monitored and the reasons for this/instances where this would happen.

Before implementing monitoring, the Company should consider the following:

  • The reasons for monitoring, which should be a legitimate and justifiable business reason e.g. security, vehicle tracking, telephone recording, recording for training, access to IT systems etc.
  • Who within the business is permitted to have access to the information and who it can be shared with.
  • Being transparent so employees understand why monitoring occurs.
  • The benefits of monitoring.
  • The details of sanctions for non-compliance.

Companies should make an employee aware of monitoring right from the beginning of their employment or from when it is implemented. This ensures that employees are informed of the monitoring and therefore the Company is not breaching the privacy of their employees. If there are contractual obligations these should be included within the contract of employment. The employee’s attention should be bought to relevant policies and training should be provided to reinforce company policy and practice, within the induction process.

One of the main areas where employers fall down is during the disciplinary process where the Company uses evidence collected during monitoring without making employees aware that monitoring occurs. If used, it can lead to illegitimate evidence and breach of an individual’s privacy.

More information can be found via The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO). They set out detailed guidance on monitoring at work in accordance with GDPR and the Employment Practices Code, part 3: monitoring at work.


If you would like to know more about how this affects your organisation or have concerns or questions on any other HR staffing issues please contact us. Initially email and we will come straight back to you.