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Workplace Surveillance – what your business needs to know.

Written by Justine Pepper, Managing Director, Essential HR

Source: Will Snow & Molly Shanahan, Finlaysons Lawyers


Do you perform surveillance on your employees? Have you considered surveillance in your workplace? Are your employees aware of and have consented to workplace surveillance?


In South Australia, there is no specific legislation directly regulating workplace surveillance.


However, the Surveillance Devices Act 2016 (SA) (SD Act) will apply to surveillance undertaken in a workplace context.


Essentially, under the SD Act, employers must obtain an employee’s consent before engaging in any type of surveillance (video, audio, GPS tracking, computer surveillance etc).


Employee consent can be obtained via the implementation of a company surveillance policy, or/and by agreement in an employee’s employment contract.


What about using surveillance for performance management and possible terminations?


This is certainly possible.


However, for any surveillance to be admissible in proceedings, obtaining the surveillance must not have breached any relevant legislation. For example, the Fair Work Commission may agree that surveillance evidence can be used during an unfair dismissal proceeding where the employee was aware of and consented to the surveillance.


To ensure you are covered we recommend employers have a comprehensive workplace surveillance policy in place and include a workplace surveillance clause in your employment contracts.


In addition, Employers should be aware of their obligations under the Privacy Act 1988 when undertaking surveillance and implementing Policy.


How can we help?


As specialists in human resource management and industrial relations we assist Australian businesses navigate their way through the complexities around employing people.


We deliver HR Partnering Services via a hybrid model. With a powerful combination of technology (Employment Hero) and HR/IR expertise, we deliver efficiencies, compliance, pragmatic advice, and solutions for small-medium business.


To learn more how we can assist your workplace stay up-to-date and compliant by visiting our website at: www.esshr.com.au.


This information is of general guidance only and is not legal advice. Readers are encouraged to consider this information in their own context and with independent advice.

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