Ministry Issues New Rules on Workplace Security Cameras

A security camera. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)

The Justice Ministry has issued new rules on the use of cameras in the workplace. While employers are free to use cameras to record activities or monitor employees while they are at work, they cannot use cameras to record them while they are on breaks. Unless they have a very good reason to do so, employers cannot set up cameras in kitchens, dining rooms, break rooms, etc.

“Good reasons” could include security-related reasons, but if they do deploy cameras for that reason, the footage that is recorded can only be used for security purposes. If an employee is caught acting “against company policy” or in a manner that the boss does not like, the footage recorded cannot be used against the employee.

In addition, employees must be informed at all times that they are under surveillance, with the specific locations of cameras pointed out to them. A general agreement to allow themselves to be filmed is not sufficient; companies must inform employees why they are being filmed. If secret cameras are installed to prevent shoplifting in retail stores, employees must be informed of their location, although customers do not have to be informed that they are installed.

Alon Bachar, an expert in privacy law in the Justice Ministry, said that “technology has made possible the widespread use of cameras in the workplace. Constant surveillance of employees has a profound effect on them, as they are in the workplace for significant hours of the day. There is a high potential for serious harm to basic privacy. Our rules place specific borders and guidelines for these activities, and provide tools for proper use of cameras in the workplace, while ensuring the privacy of workers.”