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.
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.