An employer has the right to supervise employees during working hours, within the limitations specified by law. An employer is also required to supervise work in order to ensure occupational safety.
The data collected through surveillance must be necessary for the employment relationship; protection of property and ensuring the safety of personnel and customers are also acceptable justifications for surveillance.
Technological surveillance includes:
- access control,
- camera surveillance,
- surveillance over the intranet or via an electronic calendar,
- e-mail and computer network monitoring, and
- employee location monitoring.
Technological surveillance equipment has advanced rapidly. The employer must inform employees of any and all surveillance methods used and agree on the required ground rules.
Principles of technological surveillance
Camera surveillance is addressed in the Act on Data Protection in Working Life. The same principles are applicable to other kinds of technological surveillance at the workplace.
The employer may only operate camera surveillance if it is essential for:
- ensuring the personal safety of employees at the workplace,
- supervising the correct running of production processes, or
- preventing and investigating situations that endanger safety, property or the production process.
Camera surveillance must not be operated:
- for the observation at the workplace of specific employees only,
- in a room assigned to an employee for personal use, or
- in personnel facilities such as changing rooms or lavatories.