Workplace Surveillance

Workplace Surveillance: Is it Legal?

We often get asked about workplace surveillance and its legalities. And, unfortunately, it’s quite a complicated topic. Most Australia states have their own workplace surveillance laws, which can cover everything from the use of CCTV to the monitoring and recording of phone calls.

Before we go any further, we’d encourage you to speak to both your employer/manager and an employment lawyer if you feel like you’re being monitored illegally.

Now, with that out of the way, let’s jump into it and figure out exactly what constitutes illegal workplace surveillance. Since different states have slightly different rules, we’ve focused on Western Australia for the rest of this article.

Optical Surveillance

In general, optical surveillance with CCTV or other cameras is legal within the workplace. All office spaces and other common areas can be, and often are monitored. And as unsettling as it can be to have your every move scrutinized, WA law says that this is acceptable – as long as your employer gives you adequate warning and advertises the fact that certain areas are under visual surveillance.

On the other hand, video surveillance is illegal if you’re undertaking a “private activity” and you haven’t given permission to be monitored. In short, a “private activity” generally refers to anything you do that you wouldn’t generally want to be observed doing.

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Protecting Your New Business From Copyright Infringements

If you’re an entrepreneur or anyone else starting a new small business, then you need to be wary of copyright infringements. This is especially true if content – either written or visual – plays a big part in your business, because copyright infringements can dramatically reduce your profitability.

There are numerous ways to protect your business from copyright infringement, including by engaging the services of a commercial lawyer who has experience with copyright law. With this in mind, I’ve outlined a few of the simplest things that you can do.

Note that this isn’t a complete list, and that it’s not designed to take the place of professional advice.

Use A Copyright Lawyer

The most important thing to do when it comes to protecting your business from copyright infringement – which, by the way, occurs when someone else uses your intellectual property without permission – is to hire a commercial lawyer with copyright experience.

There are a number of ways a copyright lawyer can help you remain protected, including:

  • They will advise you on the best course of action to ensure long term protection of your intellectual assets.
  • They can follow up potential copyright infringements, catching them before they escalate.
  • They will advise you on the best course of action if you want to prosecute someone for copyright infringement.

Ultimately, I’d never try and start a new business without speaking to a lawyer with copyright experience, even if the business wasn’t heavily dependant on intellectual material.

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When Are Threats To Kill An Offense?

Criminal law is a complicated topic that takes an expert to understand. Even things like threats can carry significant penalties if you are prosecuted, and it’s very important to make sure that you speak with a criminal lawyer to explore your options if you’re ever charged with a crime.

However, it can be hard to know when threats are actually an offence, and when they can be seen as a joke. I mean, we’ve all had thoughts along the lines of “I’d love to kill that person,” right?

Unfortunately, the law in Australia is quite clear, which means that you need to be careful about what you say and do. Ultimately, threats to kill can result in significant penalties, even if they aren’t meant seriously.

How Is A Threat To Kill Defined As An Offence?

Now, it’s important to note that the laws surrounding intimidating threats vary from state to state within Australia, but most are quite similar. The NSW law is quite simple and easy to understand, so I’m going to use it here as an example.

In New South Wales, the Crimes Act 1900 contains laws which govern offences including threats to kill. It basically outlines two situations which can lead to prosecution:

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