In this blog, we will be highlighting all the latest workforce laws and rules which are going to or will be imposed in the UK. Including the HMRC bulletin confirming protection for participation in some tax-awarded stock schemes amid the pandemic. Besides, how you can do the groundwork to consider regarding job boards and immigration requirements to ensure business continuity in the event of a no-deal Brexit.
As we all know that amongst the UK’s second national lockdown, more senior employer of companies is bearing in mind how to monitor the performance of employees who work remotely, including the use of workplace monitoring technology. The use of this type of tracking software raises other employment considerations and potential risks. We know that we have been hearing a lot of this technology and the latest software which will be monitoring employees. But is it worth it? What are the new laws and insights? Here’s the full information.
While employee monitoring comes in various forms. In addition to monitoring emails and internet use that is now a common repetition for employers, long-term remote work conditions lead employers to consider, for example, monitoring keystrokes, tracking websites, or even using webcams to monitor employees. Many of the concerns typical of employers, such as maintaining a workplace culture, costs, and productivity, have been increased by employees who work remotely. Managers are also considering better-quality monitoring to help protect against data security risks that may have increased with remote work. However, employers should consider the risks before applying more stringent control practices.
Now, what the data protection says? Well, under the 2018 General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and the Data Protection Act 2018, personal data collected from an employee during any monitoring must process them lawfully, fairly, and transparently. Another commandment is it has been collected for specific, explicit, and legitimate purposes and has not been processed in a manner incompatible with those purposes; And the adequate, relevant, and limited to what is necessary for those purposes.
Employers must also have a legal basis for processing personal data under the GDPR. Employers may be able to rely on a legitimate reason to collect personal data and process it as a legal basis for doing so, but this need must be balanced with the employee’s rights, which include privacy. Therefore, monitoring should be proportional.
There is no legal right to privacy in the workplace, but the duty of mutual trust, which every employment contract implies, will continue to apply to employee monitoring and processing of their personal data. Improper monitoring of employee activity can be a breach of the duty of trust and thus form the basis of a grievance or a demand for constructive dismissal. Besides, overly strict surveillance may violate the right to privacy under Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights.
Besides, employers have a duty to take care of employees concerning their physical and mental health. The remoteness linked to the COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the importance of mental health, with some studies indicating that one in five adults in the UK is likely to experience some form of depression during the pandemic. The impact of a pandemic could be multiplied if employees feel they are under increased scrutiny as a result of employee monitoring.
In severe cases, the impact on mental health may be a breach of the employer’s duty to care for the employee’s health and safety, leading to the possibility of a personal injury claim or unfair dismissal. Employers should carefully consider what they aim to achieve through increased monitoring. Now, we hope that all companies will consider these points and will be able to impose it on their workforces until they are back in the workplace. Comment below to let us know your thoughts, views on it!