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When is it okay to “spy” on my staff?

The law is very clear on the relationship between you and your staff. Employers must protect the health, safety and welfare of their employees and crucially, any other people who come into contact with their business. 

If you think about it, this legislation does actually provide you with wide-reaching rights to monitor the activities of your team – inside and outside the workplace. 

So, for example, you may want to engage the services of a private investigator if you are concerned that an employee is drinking heavily or taking drugs, as they may be putting themselves, colleagues or customers in danger. You can use a private investigator to act as a temporary member of your team, to observe and investigate. They can also monitor the staff member once they leave your premises.

If you are concerned that employees are approaching colleagues or customers outside of working hours in a way that is intimidating or inappropriate, then you have a right to check it out.

The most common use of a private investigator outside of the workplace is to control employee absenteeism. It’s believed that sickness pay and absenteeism costs UK industry over £29bn each year. You have a right to take measures to ensure your employees are not abusing the terms of what constitutes “sick leave”.

And you also have the right to protect your business interests, by preventing crimes such as theft of items, theft of your “intellectual property” and misuse of confidential information. In some cases, this means surveillance equipment in work; a specialist private investigator who can infiltrate the staff; or using a private investigator to interrogate computers to uncover deleted emails and other evidence of wrongdoing.

The Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act (2000) is clear on what is and what isn’t allowed regarding the interception of electronic communications. There are also privacy laws to take into account, such as The Protection of Freedoms Act (2012) which governs when you can use CCTV and the Data Protection Act (1988) which controls how much information you can share (and with whom).

This is why engaging the services of a professional private investigator is so important. You have a right to take action if you are suspicious that staff are: breaching the terms and conditions of their contract; doing something that could endanger them, colleagues or customers; or acting in a way that undermines your right to protect your property. Private investigators know how to get the answers and monitor staff inside and outside the workplace, without stepping over legal boundaries. Contact us today.

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