closed circuit television

04 Apr

2013

closed circuit television

Advice

Be careful when using CCTV in disciplinary hearings

Companies frequently rely on CCTV footage in disciplinary hearings where wrongdoing by an employee or worker is alleged.

Where companies have CCTV installed, images taken from company cameras positioned on company property can be used in any disciplinary hearing.

Provided they follow and document the procedure as detailed below:-

This process will ensure that the company complies with the Data Protection Act 1998 {DPA} the CCTV Code of Practice and other relevant legislation and demonstrate that the company has taken all steps possible to protect the personal information of anyone captured on the CCTV.

PROCEDURE

  1. Acknowledge: that the company does have CCTV installed with appropriate signage. Clearly state that the purpose of CCTV is to prevent crime and protect public safety. Remind staff that the use of CCTV in disciplinary proceedings is referred to in their Contract of Employment and their Staff Handbook.
  2. State: that the CCTV allegedly caught an employee committing a disciplinary offence {which may also be categorised as a criminal act} during the course of their employment. The CCTV footage may also show images of other staff not involved in the offence or crime.
  3. State: that the company wishes to use the CCTV footage in connection with the disciplinary proceedings against the employee.  The CCTV footage may also be available to the Police.
  4. State: that the company recognises that the CCTV images contain personal information and therefore to comply with the DPA they cannot be disclosed or released.  However, Section 35{2} of the DPA exempts the CCTV images from the non-dislosure provisions of the DPA where they are used for the purposes of, or in connection with, legal proceedings.
  5. State: that in the opinion of the company the disciplinary proceedings constitute legal proceedings, in the light of the alleged criminal activity and therefore the proposed use of the images in the disciplinary proceedings is exempt from the non-disclosure provisions of the DPA.
  6. State: that the staff member will be given the opportunity to view the CCTV images and to fully challenge and/or explain their content.
  7. State: where relevant, that the company has investigated the possibility of obscuring the images of other staff members, and whether or not this was possible.  Obscuring the identity of persons not relevant to the alleged wrongdoing should be attempted before CCTV footage is shown to the appropriate staff member.
  8. State: that the circulation of the CCTV images will be strictly limited to those attending the disciplinary hearing and that those attending the disciplinary hearing will have signed a Confidentiality Undertaking and be bound by its content.

Companies should ensure that they document the aforementioned procedure within their hearing notes before the release of the CCTV images; otherwise they will be in breach of the provisions of the DPA.

Whilst every care has been taken in compiling the above, the writer emphasises that the article is not intended to be a substitute for specific professional advice.

Please contact me for further details about this or any other Employment Law or Personnel matter and I will respond promptly.

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