HR Fact Sheet

Workplace Surveillance

This factsheet introduces you to the workplace surveillance legislation that is in place in the ACT and NSW.

Relevant Legislation

In NSW and the ACT, workplace surveillance is governed by specific legislation: the Workplace Surveillance Act 2005 (NSW), and the Workplace Privacy Act 2011 (ACT).

What is workplace surveillance?

Put simply, workplace surveillance is where an employer monitors their employees at work.

Workplace surveillance can take many different forms, and includes:

  • Camera surveillance, including the use of CCTV;
  • Computer surveillance, including monitoring an employee computer input, output or any other use of their computer; and
  • Tracking surveillance, meaning using a device to monitor an employee’s geographic location or their movement.

Can I carry out workplace surveillance in the ACT and/or NSW?

Yes, but only in very limited circumstances. In the ACT and in NSW, covert surveillance is prohibited and before lawfully carrying out workplace surveillance, an employer must met several obligations (see below).

What must I do when carrying out workplace surveillance?

Both pieces of legislation prohibit employers from monitoring employees in the ACT and NSW through audio, visual, or data-related means, unless they comply with strict requirements to give their employees notice and consult with them about:

  • How the surveillance will be carried out;
  • Whether it will be ongoing or for a defined period;
  • Whether it will be continuous or intermittent; and
  • What the employer may do with that information, including whether they can take adverse action against the employee because of it.

If you need a compliant workplace surveillance notification policy, we have an online package available at our Policies section.

Contact our Employment Law & Investigations Team for more information.

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