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Can you spy on employees at work?

Barclays have been in the news this week after they scrapped a pilot system that tracked the time employees spent at their desks and when they go offline. They were previously criticised after installing heat and motion devices to check whether desks were being used.

They are not alone. Amazon has also faced scrutiny for using scanners that track the rate employees collected orders and it was recently revealed they had patented designs for a wristband that could track where warehouse employees were placing their hands.

So can employers spy on employees at work? Personal data is protected under the Data Protection Act and should be used fairly, lawfully and transparently. It should be for a specified purpose and not be kept for longer than necessary.

Being transparent and open up front is key – make it clear in contracts of employment, monitoring policies and privacy notices what data is being gathered from monitoring employees and why. Employees can’t expect the same level of privacy in the workplace, as outside work, but they need to be fully informed.

If you wish to discuss this further, please contact us.

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