You should have a workplace policy in place that covers employee monitoring. Your staff monitoring policy should outline your reasons for using staff monitoring practices and the business benefits that this brings. Explain the monitoring arrangements that are in place in the workplace and how data collected from monitoring will be used and stored.
When putting together any kind of staff monitoring policy, you also need to set out the rules and standards expected. For example, if you need to have CCTV surveillance overseeing till areas in shops to ensure the safety of checkout staff, you should:
- inform staff why you are using CCTV monitoring
- inform them of the nature and extent of the monitoring
- remind them what might happen if the monitoring reveals breaches of your disciplinary rules
You should consider consulting your workers and/or their representatives, such as trade unions, when drafting a policy.
See how to set up employment policies for your business.
Policies on monitoring the use of electronic communications
A workplace policy on electronic communications should cover use of email, internet access and web usage, social media, telephone, mobile phone and fax.
The policy should:
- set out the standards expected for business use
- state what personal use is allowed and when - eg outside normal working hours
- cover confidentiality of communications and the purpose and methods of monitoring the use of equipment
You may wish to instruct staff to mark personal emails as private or personal in the title so that you can try to avoid opening them during monitoring procedures. Download social media, email and internet use section of the Invest NI Employers' Handbook (PDF, 61K).
You may also find it useful to give guidance on the potential legal risks and liabilities/security problems that misuse may create, such as the:
- appropriate content and style for emails
- importing of viruses
- use of inappropriate websites
- use of disclaimers
Staff should receive appropriate training to use business equipment in compliance with the monitoring policy.
Templates for internet, email and social media use policies
- Sample internet acceptable use policy (DOC, 29K)
- Sample business acceptable email use policy (DOC, 29K)
- Sample social media policy (DOC, 20K)
Policies on monitoring the use of business vehicles
Vehicles owned by businesses can also be monitored. For example, tachographs and satellite tracking systems can record vehicle locations, distances covered and related information about users' driving habits. This monitoring process is regulated by the Data Protection Act 2018.
Inform all workers who drive business vehicles about the vehicle monitoring policy. The policy should state what private use can be made of vehicles and the conditions attached to it.
Where private use of a vehicle is allowed, you will rarely be able to justify monitoring its movements when used privately without the freely given consent of the user. If possible, provide a privacy button or similar arrangement to enable monitoring to be disabled when a vehicle is for private use.