The dos and don’ts of employee monitoring

Since the increase in remote and hybrid working caused by the pandemic, there has been more interest in software specialising in employee monitoring.

Monitoring your employees whilst they work can not only ensure that they are working but it also can give you an insight into how to increase productivity.

However, monitoring should always be done transparently and correctly. If you are not careful, you could break your employee’s trust and potentially breach The Data Protection Act, 2018.

To avoid this, we recommend that you discuss your policies with an Employment Law expert.

The dos

If you are monitoring your employees, you must ensure that you have the correct policies in place. In line with the Data Protection Act, you must:

  • Be lawful, fair, and transparent with your employee monitoring
  • Explicitly specify your reasons for monitoring, ensuring that they are legitimate
  • If data is collected, it must be relevant and not excessive
  • Personal data should not be kept for any longer than necessary
  • Any information gathered should be kept securely

By following the procedures set out in the Data Protection Act, you can ensure that your business is legally compliant.

To ensure that these are being followed, we recommend that you:

  • Have a clearly defined policy: This policy should be made with an open dialogue with staff and representatives. It should include details on the extent of the monitoring, why it is being done, and how the data collected will be handled.
  • Conduct an impact assessment: Before you start monitoring your employees, you should identify your reasons for conducting monitoring. You should also examine the benefits and potential drawbacks of employee monitoring to ensure that it is the right choice for your business.
  • Explain to your employees why you are monitoring them: Having an open dialogue with your employees is vital. This will not only improve your relationships with employees but also ensure that full transparency is being followed in compliance with the Data Protection Act.

The don’ts

Now that you know what you should do, it is important to know what to avoid. A lot can go wrong if employee monitoring is not implemented correctly.

The key areas to avoid are:

  • Storing unnecessary data on employees
  • Excessive monitoring
  • Monitoring employees without telling them
  • Not having a fair reason for monitoring your employees
  • Do not commence with monitoring without having a policy in place

Not following these steps can have serious consequences for you and your business.

If you are not compliant with the Data Protection Act, you could be prosecuted, and your staff may take you to the Employment Tribunal.

Even in less serious cases, employees may lose trust in you as an employer and potentially seek alternative employment.

Talking to an expert

If you are considering monitoring your employees, it is best to talk to an expert.

A solicitor can help you decide if you have a legitimate reason for employee monitoring. If you do not, they may be able to help you plan alternatives, such as performance reviews and staff training. These are less intrusive and often have similar results.

If you decide that you still want to go ahead with monitoring your employees, then a solicitor can help you create policies and advise you on the best practices.

Get in touch today to find out how we can help you stay compliant.