Does your video surveillance meet data protection guidelines?

18th September 2019Video surveillance camera

Recently a restaurant in Spain found itself in trouble with The Spanish Data Protection Agency when it used mobile phone camera footage to monitor a member of staff without their knowledge.

The waiter who was filmed stated that the restaurant ‘had recorded him and these recordings have been used inside and outside the premises to impose disciplinary sanctions in the workplace.’

These recordings were filmed on another employee’s mobile phone device, after they had followed and filmed the waiter several times a day. This footage was then sent to the company, who saved it and used it as legal evidence, without the knowledge of the claimant.

Actions taken by the company led to a suspension of employment for this waiter, and suspension of their salary for 45 days. All because of this mobile phone footage.

So, does this use of mobile phone footage go against the Data Protection Act?

According to GDPR, a mobile phone recording that collects images of an individual (who can be identified) falls within the scope of protection under Article 1 of the GDPR.

When images have a legal effect in an employment monitoring context, as with this case, then the data protection regulations and their guarantees apply fully.

The owner of the establishment is the one responsible for processing the data and has therefore violated article 18.4 of the Constitution and Article 5.1(a) of the GDPR. The responsibility comes down to the owner of the restaurant.

A fine for the restaurant owner:

The Spanish Data Protection Agency sanctioned the restaurant with a fine of EUR 12,000 (reduced to EUR 9,600 for voluntary payment) for imposing a disciplinary sanction on the claimant.

To avoid GDPR and Data Protection fines, employees must be fully aware of what data is in their employer’s possession, whether that’s CCTV or otherwise. Any footage used to monitor working activities must be known to the employees.

If you have any worries about your surveillance systems or potential gaps in your GDPR compliance, get in touch with our specialists on 01673 885533 and we’ll be happy to help.

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