Covert Recording of Employees

The Grand Chamber of the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) has held that it was not a breach of Article 6 (right to a fair trial) or Article 8 (right to respect for a private life) of the European Convention on Human Rights, to covertly record employees as part of an investigation into suspected theft and for the recording to be used at trial.

The ECtHR considered a number of factors regarding the proportionality of the video-surveillance, including whether the employees had been notified, the extent of the monitoring, the degree of intrusion and whether the employer had legitimate reasons. As the surveillance in this case was only for 10 days and limited to the checkout in an area open to the public, the ECtHR held that this did not exceed what was necessary. The employer’s reasonable suspicion of serious misconduct by employees in a concerted action over a number of months and the extent of the losses could also be a justification for the monitoring.

(López Ribalda and others v Spain)

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