In-store CCTV systems are used all over the world. They help
ensure the security of individuals and goods; identify thieves and
aggressors; and discourage customer and employee theft. However, in
France the implementation of a CCTV system and the use of CCTV
footage is restricted by law in light of the potential for
infringement of privacy rights.
In France, employee privacy rights are protected – even in
the workplace. If an employer wants to use in-store surveillance
recordings as evidence of employee misconduct, several conditions
must be satisfied:
If employees are within camera range, the employer must first
inform and consult with the companyfs worksf council and inform
each employee individually of the implementation of a CCTV system.
Notices must also be posted to alert anyone entering the store that
the premises are under CCTV surveillance and provide information on
how to request a copy of relevant footage.
Cameras filming in any public space must be authorized in
advance by the local prefecture (which may take several months). If
cameras are filming (and the images are recorded) in areas closed
to the public, such as stock rooms, the retailer must file a
declaration with the French data protection authority before
Cameras may film store entrances and exits, cashier desks,
aisles or storage rooms . but cameras are strictly forbidden within
dressing rooms and restrooms.
Filming must be restricted to the extent necessary for the
protection of the employerfs security. In this regard, the French
data protection authority considers that continuous monitoring of
employee activity in order to verify proper job performance is
illegal. The authority has imposed a fine against an employer in
this regard. Permanent monitoring is, however, tolerated in limited
cases. For example, the French data protection authority considers
that it is permissible to monitor an employee who handles money,
such as at a cashier desk. In such a case, however, the camera
should film the cash handling rather than the employee.
CCTV footage may be preserved for no longer than one
Recent court cases in France have taken a more balanced approach
to employee privacy by upholding an employer's right to use
CCTV footage as evidence to dismiss an employee, even when the
works council had not been consulted. In both cases, an employee
had been dismissed for theft in the workplace outside normal
working hours and the conduct was captured on CCTV. Although the
employees attempted to argue that the CCTV system was illegal
because the company's works council had not been informed, the
courts considered that the employer did not have an obligation to
inform and consult the works council because the CCTV systems in
question were operated only to ensure security within the store,
not to monitor employees' activities during working hours.
This publication is intended as a general overview and
discussion of the subjects dealt with. It is not intended to be,
and should not used as, a substitute for taking legal advice in any
specific situation. DLA Piper Australia will accept no
responsibility for any actions taken or not taken on the basis of
DLA Piper Australia is part of DLA Piper, a global law firm,
operating through various separate and distinct legal entities. For
further information, please refer to www.dlapiper.com
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Those types of personal disclosure may still be permitted under the Privacy Act as long as your house is in order.
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