Video recording technology is now ever present in the workplace and is often necessary to provide protection from theft and damage. However, what happens when your CCTV cameras capture an employee doing something they shouldn’t be? With the ICO finding that 70% of people would find it intrusive to be monitored by an employer, it is important to make sure that CCTV is implemented and used correctly.

The Legal Bit

CCTV footage is considered personal data, so it’s important to make sure the collection and storing of the footage is justified according to GDPR. The first step to this is to have a clear purpose for installing CCTV, then making sure that the footage is processed lawfully.

Some appropriate purposes for installing CCTV could be:

  • To prevent theft and damage.
  • Ensuring security of the premises.
  • Maintaining health & safety.

As well as having a clear purpose, it should also be clear that CCTV is the best way of achieving these purposes, and other less intrusive methods have been considered. To be processed lawfully, the CCTV footage should generally only be used for the purposes it is collected.

What does this mean for CCTV in Disciplinaries?

CCTV is not generally considered an appropriate tool for monitoring attendance or performance, so this is unlikely to be justified as a purpose for installing the CCTV. However, in using CCTV for another purpose, instances of serious misconduct are sometimes captured which you may want to investigate.

In these instances, you should be able to demonstrate why the CCTV is necessary to provide evidence in a disciplinary matter and that your use of the CCTV is limited to investigating a particular issue. Although the data is being used for a different purpose than for what it was collected, if the conduct is serious then it is in your best interests to investigate the issue which would override the employee’s expectation of privacy.

In summary, you are unlikely to be able to rely on CCTV as evidence for minor issues, may be able to use CCTV lawfully as evidence in more serious situations where other evidence is difficult or impossible to obtain.

If in doubt, get in touch and ask us!

Our Recommendations

Here are some of our top tips for making sure you are using CCTV lawfully:

  • CCTV cameras should be clearly marked so employees know they are being recorded.
  • There should be a clear purpose for installing CCTV cameras which is communicated to employees.
  • CCTV cameras should be avoided in more private areas such as toilets and changing rooms.
  • Have a CCTV policy which makes the purpose of recording clear, including that CCTV may be used for disciplinary purposes.
  • CCTV recordings are personal data so must be kept securely and should be provided to employees if they request this.
  • CCTV recordings should not be kept for any longer than is strictly necessary (usually for 30 days, unless any recording has been downloaded for a specific purpose).
  • Only use CCTV footage for the purposes it was collected.
  • Only use CCTV to investigate disciplinary matters on a case-by-case basis where it is necessary and proportionate to do so.
  • Ensure CCTV is clearly cited in data protection and data retention policies.

How can we support?

Hallidays HR can provide you with bespoke CCTV and Data Protection policies to cover your use of CCTV in the workplace.

If you are unsure about the use of CCTV on your business premises, get in touch for further advice and guidance.

How Hallidays HR can help

If you would like to discuss any of the above in more detail, then please do not hesitate to contact us on 0161 476 8276 or email hr@hallidayshr.co.uk. And of course, visit our LinkedIn page.