Owning a business means that you can expose yourself to varying types of lawsuits from customers and employees. To stay out of trouble, there are certain legal obligations you must comply with. One of these relates to your surveillance camera system. Having a CCTV camera installed at your premises can be an effective security precaution, but before you go ahead and start monitoring everyone inside your business, you need to be aware of the do’s and don’ts if you want to lessen your liability.
Be transparent about why you are monitoring them
Employees have the right to know when and why they are being filmed in the workplace. For good measure, you should install cameras only if they relate to risk prevention such as employee safety and theft. A good rule of thumb is that you should not act in a way that causes paranoia and confusion in the workplace and which could jeopardise the mutual trust between you and your employees.
Don’t place cameras in private areas
You must ensure that your workplace surveillance adheres to the Privacy Act, which states that you may not invade the privacy of an individual without their consent. It is therefore unlawful to place cameras in an area where people expect to have privacy such as bathrooms and dressing rooms. Only record areas where it is reasonable to film others such as work spaces, doorways, the reception desk, and break rooms.
Create a video surveillance policy
CCTV installation in the workplace can cause a lot of confusion regarding the goal and use of security cameras. Therefore, it’s a best practice to draft a video surveillance policy and share it with your employees. This way, everyone will know what to realistically expect from the video recordings. The policy will come in handy when you need to decide how each situation should be handled. For example, will a manager be able to view footage if he/she suspects that an employee has not been doing their job? Can employees request footage as evidence if their car was burgled in the parking lot?
The video surveillance policy should make the following points clear:
– The purpose of the video surveillance
– Where the security cameras are installed
– Which areas will not be under surveillance
– How video is recorded and stored, for what duration
– Who may view video footage and under what circumstances
– The procedures for requesting video recordings
– The use of hidden cameras
– How footage is stored for future use
Get a professional for your CCTV installation
If you’re installing a single video camera, you’ll most likely be able to set it up yourself. However, when considering a surveillance monitoring solution that records various areas in and around your building, it’s best to leave it to the professionals. It’s not an easy task, and the outcomes of making mistakes can be detrimental to your business. When you call in a licensed installer, you’re not just ensuring a job well done – you’re giving yourself the peace of mind that your business will uphold best practices as a professional understands the legal ins and outs of video camera installation.
Every business has the right to protect their premises, assets, and employees. However, if you plan to use the footage in the event of a burglary, theft, or injury claim, it’s imperative that you abide by the rules as the courts will likely dismiss any evidence that originates from private areas, or if you failed to inform employees that they are being monitored. Moreover, you may get sued by employees for invasion of privacy or constructive dismissal if your surveillance borders on inappropriate conduct.
Remember that it’s your duty to monitor your employees fairly and in a way that encourages trust and a sense of belonging. Do that, and you can rest assured that you’re less likely to face a lawsuit whilst you’re simply trying to protect your business and employees.