There are a number of possible consequences if you fail to monitor staff in accordance with the data protection principles. In order to avoid such penalties you should monitor staff correctly and lawfully.
Examples of penalties for improper staff monitoring
- Constructive dismissal claims - you could face claims for constructive dismissal if - through improper staff monitoring practices - you have substantially breached the implied term of trust and confidence that is contained in the contract of employment of every employee or claims of unfair dismissal if an employee is dismissed unfairly as a result of monitoring.
- Pay damages - you may have to pay damages to any individual who suffers a loss or distress because of a breach of data protection law, or to the sender or recipient of a communication you intercepted through unlawful monitoring.
- Criminal prosecution - you could face criminal prosecution if you fail to get consent to search an employee, even if you have a contractual right to search.
- Liability for inappropriate material - you and/or your staff may be liable for downloading inappropriate material from the internet at work.
If an individual is concerned about how an organisation has handled their information they can make a complaint to the Information Commissioner's Office. See your personal information concerns.