Covert surveillance in the workplace
The National Labor Relations Act (NLRB) prohibits employers' use of video cameras to monitor employees' union activities, including union meetings and. EMS can have negative effects on the employment relationship through the . Equally, “bundles” of EMS techniques such as video surveillance and trails left by . It did not inform the employees that the surveillance could be used for the purpose of managing their employment relationship with the.
It did not inform the employees that the surveillance could be used for the purpose of managing their employment relationship with the company and that they could be disciplined if the recordings showed that they were not following standard operating procedure.
The company also did not tell the employees that they might show the surveillance to customers, as a means of managing the company's reputation.
The OIPC also found that even if the company was going to use the information captured by the video surveillance "solely for deterring improper conduct of the employees", such collection would not be "reasonable".
Video Surveillance And Employee Privacy - Privacy Protection - Canada
It was not reasonable, because the reasonable person standard requires that surveillance should only be used as a last resort after less invasive measures to achieve the business purpose, have been exhausted. In the current situation, the company had not considered any other alternatives.
For example, it had not considered measures such as employee training or "spot checking" the chicken catching operations to deter abuse. The OIPC also noted that PIPA authorizes the implementation of video surveillance in accordance with the reasonable person test, only in the following circumstances: In the situation under consideration, there were no prior instances of employee violence, workplace injuries, thefts, or other safety concerns that justified the installation of the surveillance system.
Consequently, it was not authorized under PIPA.
Employer Takeaways If an organization is collecting surveillance recordings of individuals while at work, it is collecting "personal information" under PIPA. An organization should limit the collection of personal information only to what is necessary for a previously identified purpose.
PIPA authorizes the implementation of video surveillance in accordance with the reasonable person test, only where the three pre-conditions described in the decision, are satisfied.
Covert surveillance in the workplace
In other words, the Union was of the view that the already strict supervision of the employees did not, in and of itself, justify the installation of surveillance cameras. The Employer took the position that the installation of the cameras was done in good faith in order to assure the financial viability of the Company. In particular, the Employer put into evidence before the Arbitrator that init had developed a new product aimed at the Japanese market.
The operations on the said line began in January of During the month of June, however, the Japanese customer informed the Employer of the presence of an important contaminant in the products received. Following the first complaint, management put into place a plan in order to prevent the repetition of the same anomalies. However, the plan was not successful because of the second complaint received from the same customer.
As a result, the Employer lost the contract with the customer in question and closed the new production line. It was following the two contamination incidents brought to the Employer's attention by its former customer that the Employer decided to install surveillance cameras. The declared purpose of these surveillance cameras was to improve the protection of the alimentary salubrity of its production, to look after the health of the consumers, and to insure the financial survival of the Company following the loss of an important Japanese customer.
According to the Employer, the loss of another important customer resulting from the delivery of another contaminated product could result in the Employer's demise. The Decision of the Arbitrator At the outset, the Arbitrator held that the Employer could have been more transparent by meeting with the Union before the installation of the cameras and by explaining to the Union the reason behind the Employer's decision. However, the Arbitrator pointed out that the collective agreement did not contain any provision imposing these obligations upon the Employer.
Every person has a right to the safeguard of his dignity, honour and reputation.