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Workplace surveillance

Last updated January 2024

This chapter explains the laws that govern your right to conduct certain types of surveillance in your workplace.

Undertaking surveillance in your workplace

Definition: Surveillance

Surveillance means using a device to watch over a person or persons at work. That device might be:
- a data surveillance device, i.e. monitoring input or output of information into or from a computer;
- a listening device, i.e. monitoring conversations or words spoken between two or more persons;
- an optical surveillance device, i.e. recording vision or observing an activity, e.g. CCTV; or
- a tracking device, i.e. determining the geographical location of a person, e.g. GPS.

A business may wish to undertake surveillance of employees for various reasons, including to:

  • deter misconduct from occurring; and
  • obtain evidence of suspected misconduct.
Important: The Australian Capital Territory (ACT), New South Wales (NSW) and, to a limited extent, Victoria, have specific laws regulating workplace surveillance. These laws regulate the use of optical surveillance devices, tracking devices and data surveillance devices in the workplace, but not listening devices.