Staff security and monitoring employees

Staff monitoring: deciding if it is justified


If you monitor your staff, you must ensure that it is both appropriate and proportionate. You must ensure, as an employer, that you balance your need for information in order to protect your business with a respect for your employees' privacy.

If used in inappropriate ways or in the wrong situations, monitoring can have an adverse impact on your staff. It can intrude into their private lives, disrupt work or erode the trust and confidence that has been built between you and your employees.

Staff monitoring: impact assessment

To decide whether your employee monitoring is justified, you should undertake an impact assessment.

  • Purpose - clearly identifies the purpose(s) behind monitoring and the benefits of monitoring over any alternatives.
  • Benefits - assesses the benefits of monitoring against any adverse impact on staff, eg intrusion into workers' private lives, or the oppressive effect of monitoring.
  • Confidential information - identifies whether confidential information will become known to others in the workforce as a result.
  • Is it fair? - consider how to be fair to workers when employing workplace monitoring.
  • Intrusion - recognises how any intrusion is kept to a minimum.
  • Reasoning for any potential intrusions - ensures that significant intrusion into workers' private lives will be justified.
  • Consult workers - assesses the results of consultation with the workers and/or their representatives.
  • Monitoring obligations - considers the obligations that arise from monitoring, such as setting up new processes to ensure records are secure.
  • Legal compliance - considers how to ensure compliance with the law.

Employees' rights on workplace monitoring

Your workers have the right to access any personal information on them that you collect via workplace monitoring. Therefore, your monitoring systems must be capable of meeting this need and other data protection requirements.

If following your impact assessment you decide that you can justify monitoring of your employees, you must ensure you carry it out within the limits of the law. See monitor staff correctly and lawfully.