Everyone is entitled to a private life, including at work. While some degree of monitoring is a normal part of working life, there are legal limits on intrusive monitoring or surveillance.
In recent years, cheap monitoring technology has made it easier for employers to collect information about their staff. Controversial forms of monitoring include opening and reading staff’s emails, monitoring internet use, listening in on calls and installing CCTV.
Generally, if your employer is planning to monitor employees’ activities, they should first consult the union or the employees themselves. They should make clear what measures are being introduced and why they’re necessary.
Monitoring must be done in a way that’s not oppressive to staff. If it’s unnecessarily intrusive or if the employer collects more information that is strictly required, they may be in breach of data protection laws.
If you’re concerned about how you’re being monitored at work, you should approach your union rep. If you’re not already a member of a union, you should join and encourage colleagues to do the same.
The more union members there are in a workplace, the stronger the union's position will be when it comes to negotiating improvements to the conditions where you work.