CCTV in the workplace
CCTV in the workplace. This is the universal debate over CCTV surveillance systems. Does the thought of an ever-watchful eye make you feel secure or intruded on?
On the one hand, we all have the right to privacy. On the other hand, businesses need to protect themselves against lawsuits, keep their staff safe and monitor the happenings in their building.
As the use of CCTV in South Africa grows, companies are faced with difficult choices in terms of what they can and cannot legally do with their cameras and the footage they take. When is your footage admissible in court, when will it be deemed illegal?
There are regulations offering clear guidelines to the use of CCTV in other countries making it easier to set up and maintain a legally admissible surveillance system. Unfortunately, there are no similar clear-cut guidelines in South Africa.
Security at workplaces is important and many business owners have invested in high-end security systems at their business premises. These often include alarm systems, key card access systems, biometrics and CCTV cameras, etc.
CCTV in the workplace is legal but there are some limits
- The extent to which surveillance can be done.
- Where the cameras can be placed.
- Requirements to give notice to your employees.
We naturally assume the presence of CCTV systems in public places such as malls, banks and shops. However, with CCTV in the workplace, it is necessary for the employees to be notified of video surveillance, and the employer must have a good reason for it.
According to current legislation, audio recording without consent is unlawful, unless you fall under the exceptions listed in the Regulation of Interception of Communications & Provision of Communication-Related Information Act (RICA). Therefore, you need to be aware of the legal implications of what you are about to do.
The following are some of the areas where it is legal to have CCTV in the workplace:
However, there are places where employees expect some level of privacy such as:
It is illegal to have video surveillance in such places, whether the employees are aware of it or not.
It is illegal to have hidden cameras at work. Employees must be notified if they are being monitored. Even in the event you are trying to monitor an employee who has given you a reason to suspect illegal activities. if it is determined that your action was an invasion of your employee’s privacy, the evidence you gather through the use of a hidden camera might not even be admissible in court.
This opens a new can of worms for companies in which they can be sued and also lose trust with loyal employees.
If you are planning to install a CCTV in the workplace, there are some legal points you will need to have some knowledge of first as to what footage you can and cannot use, and what legal steps you will need to follow.
You must comply with the Privacy Act
When installing a control room with CCTV cameras and recorders, you will first need to comply with the Privacy Act. This act states that you are required to tell all staff that they are being recorded by CCTV, as well as put up signs alerting clients and customers to this fact.
Follow employment law
Employment law states that employers must not act in a way that could destroy the mutual trust between an employer and employee. If your employee feels this is so due to your installation of CCTV cameras in the workplace, they are able to claim constructive dismissal.
Ensure you understand data protection law
Cameras must be placed in full view
The CCTV cameras you install must be in full view of all staff members and customers. This re-establishes the trust between yourself and your employees, as they will realize that these cameras are not being used to spy on them, but to ensure the safety of your company and building.
List the CCTV in contracts
If you have new staff coming on board, you should include that fact that there is CCTV in the workplace in their contract. You should also look to include this in current contracts, which will mean rewriting the contracts. This may seem tedious, but it provides a legal buffer should any complaints arise.
Legal Use of CCTV surveillance
CCMA arbitrators and other tribunals accept videotaped evidence as valid and reliable because:
- It does not suffer from fading memory as may the testimony of human witnesses.
- It provides a more accurate and clearer picture than a human being.
- The camera retains not only the words but also the non-verbal communications of those on camera.
Whether or not the employee was aware of the CCTV system, your recording is also required to be, amongst other regulations:
- The videotape must be clear. This means that visuals and audio must be sharp.
- The video must be authenticated. In addition to the tape being visually clear, it must be shown not to have been tampered with in any way.
- It must also be proved that the visuals and audio accurately reflected the incident in question and not some other incident.
- The evidence provided by the videotape must not be hearsay and must not be contradicted by other evidence.
- The video should not be part of an illegal entrapment exercise.
With the right security measures in place, ensuring the safety of a company; its employees and equipment is much easier. Whether it is biometrics on all entrances and exits of an office park; fences to physically prevent intruders from gaining access; or CCTV cameras intended to catch criminals in the act, technology makes security simpler.
However, other than employee monitoring and in most cases, the required reason for installing a CCTV system in today's society is the security factor.
CCTV systems have become a necessity in the workplace both for the company and its employees. It prevents theft, malicious damage, and violence from employees as they know they will be caught.
It is basic to have the best security framework in the event that you either run an organization with several employees or a little eatery. Criminals do not have a possibility of going into a business or an office unnoticed in light of the presence of CCTV cameras.
It provides a safe workplace
CCTV cameras screen the workforce and the daily comings and goings of people in and out of your office.
It is a thorough security administration
The CCTV cameras can likewise give a thorough security administration. Governments, huge property proprietors, transit system jurisdiction, and transit system operations are a portion of the spots where the system can give comprehensive management.
CCTV gives some proof
In South Africa, most criminals are not opportunistic but rather individuals who calculate their moves altogether and know the perfect time to strike. Those individuals can leave almost no proof. In the event that the cheats are not discovered as they are stealing, the CCTV camera will give top quality recordings which can, without much of a stretch, be reproduced, zoomed and reviewed till the law-breakers are found.
It provides a constant presence
When you have gone home; dozing; or on vacation, the CCTV camera will dependably give security by catching the potential intruders who may sneak into the business premises.
It is a superior office observation in regions which can’t be seen effortlessly
By mounting a CCTV camera at the back of your room, it will empower you to show signs of constant observation of your office. Another advantage of the framework is the way that you will see the footage on your web. In this manner, it will give a significant peace of mind when you are in a far place.
What is the right system for your business?
The right eyes for every job
In order to keep watch over business premises inside and out, the right visual surveillance set-up is necessary. With the correct combination of surveillance cameras, combined with a video management system for storage; playback; off-site monitoring and event management. It is advisable to match the camera to the job required, which means that entrances and exits would be monitored by ultra-high definition cameras.
Understand the business needs
CCTV systems cannot just be bought off a shelf at a store and drilled into the wall. There are numerous considerations to be made. What type of camera do you require which will fit into your office infrastructure, without needing to overhaul your entire office? IP or Analogue systems? Which leads to questions regarding using NVR or DVR to record the video. Where to place the eyes to get the best and widest view of the area?
If the correct research is not performed, you may end up with a malfunctioning or nonfunctioning system which has cost you a fortune in time and money and frustration.
SPOC Managed Services can assist your business with the correct system. We provide consultation, planning, installation and system maintenance in order to take out the guesswork and provide the best solution at the most cost-effective prices.