Last Updated on May 26, 2023
With the rise of theft and violence in the workplace, it’s no wonder that many employees and employers are concerned about safety. In the Philippines, it is becoming increasingly common for businesses to install closed-circuit television (CCTV) cameras to monitor their premises.
However, are you aware of the workplace surveillance laws surrounding using CCTV cameras? Not knowing the laws governing the use of surveillance cameras could lead to potential legal issues and privacy violations.
To ensure the safety and security of your workplace while staying within the bounds of the law, it’s essential to understand the regulations surrounding security cameras in the Philippines.
This article will discuss everything you need to know about CCTV camera laws in the workplace to protect your business and employees without compromising privacy or breaking the law.
Coverage and Applicability
The Data Privacy Act of 2012 (DPA) and its implementing rules and regulations regulate CCTV cameras in the workplace. The National Privacy Commission (NPC) has issued guidelines on using CCTV cameras in the workplace.
The DPA and its implementing rules and regulations apply to all personal information controllers and processors, including private-sector ones. This means employers who use CCTV cameras in the workplace are subject to these laws.
Permissible Use of CCTV Cameras
Before installing CCTV cameras in your offices, you must establish why you plan to use them in your business.
Under the guidelines issued by the NPC, video surveillance in the workplace must serve a legitimate business purpose. These purposes include:
Protect the safety and security of employees, customers, and the workplace.
Prevent external theft, internal theft, and other unlawful behavior of employees.
Monitor employees and their work processes to improve efficiency and productivity.
Employers must not use CCTV cameras for purposes other than those specified in the guidelines. They must also ensure that the use of CCTV cameras is proportionate to the aim for which they are used.
In relation, using hidden cameras may be considered a violation of privacy and may lead to legal issues. CCTV cameras should be installed in plain sight and not hidden or disguised.
Therefore, employers need to ensure that their use of CCTV cameras in the workplace is in compliance with the guidelines set by the NPC.
Notice and Consent
Employers must notify employees and other individuals who may be captured by CCTV cameras in the workplace. The notice must include the following information:
The purpose for which the CCTV cameras are being used
The identity of the personal information controller
The contact details of the data protection officer or other people responsible for handling data privacy concerns
The period for which the CCTV footage will be stored
Employers must obtain consent from employees and other individuals who may be captured by CCTV cameras in the workplace. Permission must be freely given, specific, informed, and unambiguous.
This enables you to set a reasonable expectation among your employees regarding how your organization will use the CCTV system.
Data Privacy and Security
Employers must ensure that the personal information captured by CCTV cameras in the workplace is protected against unauthorized access, use, or disclosure.
They must also implement appropriate technical and organizational measures to ensure the security of personal information.
CCTV data must be stored securely where its confidentiality and integrity are maintained and protected.
The retention period for CCTV footage must be reasonable and proportionate to the purpose for which the footage was collected.
Employee Education and Awareness
Once you have organized how you plan on using CCTV cameras, you should educate and communicate them with your employees.
In this case, you must provide them with education and awareness training regarding using CCTV cameras in the workplace. This training should cover the purpose of the cameras, the areas under surveillance, and the circumstances under which footage will be reviewed.
Employees should also be made aware of their rights under the law, including their privacy rights.
Also, provide regular training and updates to ensure employees understand the policy and procedures. This can help prevent misunderstandings and ensure employees know their rights and responsibilities.
Finally, employers should also ensure their employees know the consequences of violating the policy. This may include disciplinary action, up to and including termination of employment.
Penalties for Violations
If your CCTV systems violate the DPA and its implementing rules and regulations, you are subject to penalties, which may include fines and imprisonment. The NPC may also suspend or revoke the employer’s registration or license to operate.
Employees and other individuals affected by the unlawful use of CCTV surveillance cameras in the workplace may file a complaint with the NPC.
The NPC may conduct an investigation and impose sanctions on the employer if it finds that the employer has violated the DPA and its implementing rules and regulations.
So, Is It Legal to Have Security Cameras in the Workplace?
Using a video surveillance system in the workplace is a complex issue that requires careful consideration of various legal, ethical, and practical concerns. The Philippines has regulations to ensure that the use of CCTV cameras in the workplace is done in a manner that respects employees’ privacy rights and complies with applicable laws and regulations.
It is important to note that using CCTV cameras in the workplace should not be a substitute for effective management practices. Employers should create a positive work environment that promotes trust, transparency, and open communication. CCTV cameras should be used to enhance workplace safety and security, not as a means of surveillance or control.
If you want expert recommendations regarding the type of CCTV cameras to choose and how to install them without infringing on your employee’s privacy, among others, reach out to us at The Spy Experts.
We offer photo and video surveillance as one of our core services, and we’re more than happy to help you set up a CCTV surveillance system in your offices.