The rules relating to surveillance, including workplace
surveillance, vary from state to state.
In NSW for example, reference should be had to the Workplace
Surveillance Act 2005 [NSW] ("the
Act"). The Act sets out the rules relating to an
employer's use of technology including computers, cameras and
tracking devices, to monitor employees, and it prohibits the
surveillance of employees at work, unless employees have been given
Under the Act, written notice must be given at least 14 days
prior to any surveillance commencing and the notice must
the kind of surveillance to be carried out (e.g. computer,
camera or tracking);
how the surveillance will be carried out;
when the surveillance will start;
whether the surveillance will be continued or intermittent;
whether the surveillance will be for a specified limited period
(Note: there are additional requirements that need to be
complied with in relation to camera / video surveillance)
For new starters, notice must be given before they commence
What does this mean for your organisation?
If you have not put in place a policy that states that the email
and computer system your employees are operating belong to you as
the employer, and as such, you have a right to monitor their use of
both systems, you should not be accessing this information. More
importantly, you should not be seeking to rely on such information
to impose any sort of performance management or disciplinary
This means all workplaces need an up to date 'Email and
If your workplace does not have such a policy or it has not be
reviewed recently, please contact our employment law team who will
be able assist in ensuring your workplace is compliant with all its
workplace surveillance obligations.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.
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Long experience representing many of Australia's leading employers has taught us that in employment litigation the identity of an employee's representative is a major factor in how employee litigation runs.
Australian employees receive certain entitlements (such as annual leave and superannuation) where contractors do not.
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