Law guide: Employment

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Privacy and monitoring

Privacy and monitoring

Staff who are using their homes for working have a right of privacy out-of-hours and need to be able to separate their working and home lives. Times when they can or cannot be contacted on work issues should be agreed.

If you're able to monitor their use of your equipment and systems, you should take great care before deciding to do so. The key matters to consider are below:

  • Monitoring should only be carried out to the extent required or permitted by law and that's necessary for your legitimate business purposes.
  • The information you get from monitoring must be used for its intended purpose, unless it leads you to discover an activity that you could not be reasonably expected to ignore, such as criminal acts or health and safety risks to the public or to other staff.
  • Monitoring use of personal email or social media accounts at work must only be done in exceptional circumstances, e.g. if you reasonably believe that there is a real risk of damage to your business or a serious breach of your policies.
  • Only a limited number of authorised staff should have access to the information obtained from monitoring.

More information is available from the Information Commissioner Office and the Scottish Information Commissioner.

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