The new guidance comes in response to the evolving landscape of remote work and technological advancements which have prompted employers to increasingly explore various forms of worker monitoring. With the aim of ensuring compliance with the UK General Data Protection Regulation (UK GDPR) and the Data Protection Act 2018 (DPA 2018), the ICO's guidance seeks to strike a balance between employers' legitimate interests and employees' fundamental rights.
The ICO's decision to publish this guidance follows a public consultation and research which provides insights into workers' perceptions of monitoring practices. The research reveals that nearly one in five respondents believe they have been monitored by their employers. In addition, 70% of respondents find workplace monitoring intrusive, and only 19% would feel comfortable accepting a job offer if they knew their employer intended to monitor them.
Workplace monitoring can include:
These practices can vary in intrusiveness and impact on an individual's privacy, making it crucial for employers to carefully consider (and communicate clearly) their approach.
To ensure compliance with data protection regulations and respect for employees' rights, the ICO's guidance explains that organisations must take the following steps when monitoring workers:
This guidance underscores the need for organisations to carefully consider their legal obligations and the rights of their workers in the context of workplace monitoring.