Use of surveillance within the workplace

The use of monitoring within the workplace has been regulated by the legislator in the Labour Code, according to which it is allowed to use monitoring if it is necessary to ensure the safety of employees or the protection of property, or the control of production, or the preservation of the secrecy of information the disclosure of which could expose the employer to damage. Monitoring, on the other hand, should be understood as the use of technical means enabling the recording of images.

Where can and where cannot monitoring be used?

According to the applicable legislation, the employer may impose specific supervision of the workplace premises or the area around the workplace. However, areas excluded from supervision include the premises made available to the company trade union organisation, sanitary rooms, changing rooms, canteens, and smoking rooms.

In the case of sanitary rooms, cloakrooms, canteens and smoking rooms, it is permissible to use monitoring when it is necessary to ensure the safety of employees or the protection of property, control of production or the secrecy of information the disclosure of which could expose the employer to harm, and when the monitoring of these spaces does not violate the dignity and other personal rights of employees. Additionally, in the case of sanitary spaces, the consent of the company’s trade union organisation is necessary for the employer to be able to monitor them. In the event that the employer does not have a trade union organisation, the employer is obliged to obtain the consent of the employees’ representatives elected in accordance with the procedure adopted by the employer.

How should monitoring be used in the workplace?

When describing the issue of monitoring within a workplace, one cannot overlook the provisions of the General Data Protection Regulation (hereinafter ‘GDPR’). The GDPR applies when the employer saves the recordings, whereas when the monitoring will only serve to view the place in question and the recording is not saved on any medium, we will not apply the provisions on data processing. Consequently, it should be borne in mind that all legal requirements for the protection of personal data under the RODO apply to the recording of the image. On the other hand, the protection of an employee’s personal rights may be expressed, for example, by the employer’s use of techniques that prevent the identification of the persons in the monitored premises.

It should be further remembered that, according to the definition of monitoring, it is the use of technical means enabling the recording of images. Consequently, in accordance with the regulations in force and the view of the Office for the Protection of Personal Data, it is unacceptable to record the sound accompanying the recorded image.

The image recordings themselves may only be processed by the employer for the purposes in relation to which they were collected. The employer is obliged to keep the image recordings for a period not exceeding 3 months from the date of the recording. An exception to this rule is when the recordings constitute evidence in proceedings. In this situation, the aforementioned period shall be extended until the proceedings have become final.

How to implement monitoring within the workplace?

The objectives, scope, and method of application of the monitoring are generally introduced in a collective labour agreement or work regulations. When the employer is not subject to a collective labour agreement or when he is not obliged to establish working regulations, he is obliged to introduce monitoring by means of a notice. In addition, the employer is obliged to inform the employees about the introduction of the monitoring, in a manner adopted by the employer, no later than two weeks before its implementation. The employer is also obliged to mark the premises and areas to be monitored in a visible and legible manner, by means of appropriate signs or audio announcements, no later than one day prior to the commencement of the surveillance, furthermore the employer shall provide the employee with information on the purpose, scope and manner of use of the monitoring, in writing, prior to his/her admission to work.

When introducing monitoring in the workplace, it is important to bear in mind that it must fulfill the objectives listed in the law. Consequently, monitoring cannot be introduced to supervise the efficiency and productivity of employees.

Each case of introducing surveillance requires a detailed analysis and the preparation of relevant documents and procedures, which is why we kindly invite you to contact our lawyers who will help you prepare and go through the entire process.

Marcin Jóźwiak   |   05.28.2024

Autor :

Marcin Jóźwiak

Marcin Jóźwiak

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