CCTV in the workplace offers a host of benefits. It amplifies your security, making your premises less of a target, and can increase workplace safety compliance and productivity too. But you do need to be mindful of the law when setting up commercial CCTV cameras. Here’s what you need to know about privacy law and workplace CCTV:
Victoria’s Privacy Laws and CCTV in the Workplace
The laws regarding CCTV in the workplace in Victoria are complex.
Some CCTV recordings are specifically made illegal. Sound recordings, for instance, are often illegal under the Surveillance Devices Act 1999. This law makes it illegal to record conversations if you aren’t a party to them.
It’s also illegal under the Surveillance Devices Act 1999 for employers to install cameras in areas like the bathroom, change room, toilet, or lactation room.
Using CCTV in common areas at the workplace isn’t specifically illegal, but it does involve collecting personal and potentially sensitive information about your employees and visitors to your premises. This can trigger privacy law, which is an area of law that is complex and changing all the time. The Victorian Office of the Privacy Commissioner has published a helpful ‘Privacy in the Workplace’ resource. If you’re not certain about your obligations, you should seek legal advice before installing cameras.
FAQs about Privacy Laws and Workplace CCTV Cameras
Do you have to put up a sign if you have CCTV?
From a business perspective, it’s a good idea to install signage about your CCTV cameras. There are three compelling reasons behind this:
- If they’re installed as a deterrent, it lets potential criminals know that there is a security system in place.
- It helps to retain customer trust. Customers and visitors may not appreciate being recorded covertly or without their permission. Letting them know about the CCTV cameras ensures they perceive that you’re being transparent and honest, which is essential in maintaining trust.
- It lets visitors know that you will be collecting images of them and gives them the option to not enter your business if they don’t wish to be recorded.
Do I need to tell workers if I’m filming them?
You should get signed consent from your workers about CCTV in the workplace. The consent form should let them know which areas are under supervision, why you’re using the CCTV cameras, and how any footage will be used. You might want to ask a lawyer to draft the consent form for you.
Best practice for workplace CCTV
Here’s what the Australian Government’s Business department says about best practice for CCTV at your business:
“If you’re thinking about installing video surveillance, our tips will help you follow best practice.
- Tell your staff and new employees in writing about the surveillance devices.
- Clearly explain your expectations of staff in the workplace and their responsibility for upholding the organisation’s privacy obligations.
- Ensure all cameras are clearly visible and place signs at every entrance to let staff and customers know of the surveillance.
- Make sure you don’t install cameras in private areas such as fitting rooms, shower areas, toilets or change rooms.”
Again, if you’re uncertain about your legal obligations, seek legal advice from a qualified lawyer. This blog post is not legal advice.
BPoint Security’s Tailored CCTV Systems for Melbourne Businesses
BPoint does not supply cameras that record audio. Nor will BPoint Security install cameras in toilets, bathrooms, change rooms, fitting rooms or lactation rooms.
We have custom designed and installed robust commercial security systems across hundreds of Melbourne businesses. We have more than 20 years’ experience behind us and we’re proud to supply and install reliable top-shelf CCTV cameras.