Employers are now able to monitor their workforce on a larger scale through GPS facilities in laptops, mobile phones and PDAs, however, the exploitation of such opportunities is likely to give rise to conflict between employers and employees, a leading employment lawyer has warned.
Gerard Phillips, head of Middletons' workplace relations group, said tracking surveillance is probably the least used, at least to date, of the three forms of surveillance: camera; computer and tracking.
But tracking surveillance is becoming more common as the cost of such devices falls and the obligations on employers in relation to travelling employees increase, Phillips said.
At present employers are only required to provide written notice at least 14 days before commencing surveillance, and to ensure that there is a clearly visible notice that a vehicle or item is being tracked.
"The results of such surveillance may be more intrusive than the results of, say, computer surveillance of an employer-provided computer," Phillips said.
While he was unaware of any prosecutions of employers for breaches of the Workplace Surveillance Act, he said it is possible that this will change over the coming years, "particularly in circumstances where employers are increasing the level of surveillance they undertake and employeesare becoming more aware of their rights in all aspects of employment", he added.
- Craig Donaldson