Thu 09 Nov 2023

New ICO guidance on employee monitoring

ICO research also found that 70% of surveyed workers find workplace monitoring intrusive.  

Monitoring workers is an emotive subject.  As demonstrated by the recent research undertaken by the Information Commissioner's Office ("ICO"), many workers do not like it, and indeed included in the findings is the statistic that only 19% of workers would feel comfortable taking a new job if they knew their employer would be monitoring them. 

Workers are, of course, entitled to a degree of privacy in the workplace and the recent guidance published by the ICO - Data protection and monitoring workers - provides employers with advice and information on both the legislative requirements in this area and best practice when undertaking workplace monitoring.  As is the style of the updated guidance on employment practices currently being published by the ICO, a useful "checklist" for employers is also included. 

The guidance emphasises the importance of employers:-

  • Ensuring workers are made aware of the nature, extent and reasons for monitoring
  • Having a clearly defined purpose and lawful basis for processing workers data in the least intrusive way
  • Only keeping information relevant to the purpose
  • Carrying out data protection impact assessments for monitoring likely to result in a high risk to rights of workers
  • Responding appropriately to subject access requests

A key theme of the guidance is the requirement to carry out Data Protection Impact Assessments (DPIA) in a range of situations involving employee monitoring, which is likely to result in an increase in such assessments being undertaken.  Making use of the guidance should assist employers who undertake monitoring to do it in a way that complies with the UK General Data Protection Regulation and the Data Protection Act 2018, while respecting their employees right to privacy.

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