Monitoring employees at their place of work by the use of video cameras or through conducting computer security checks, which includes email inboxes, is becoming commonplace. According to Gazeta Prawna and the research conducted by Hitachi Data Systems, some 67 percent of Polish employers monitor their workers’ emails. In France 71 percent of employers do the same, as do 62 percent in the United Kingdom.
Monitoring the levels of intoxication of their employees is no longer a random breath check, rather a daily occurrence for many workers. Within the building sector, many construction companies conduct breath checks each morning before builders can commence work. The Milka Council (in the Warmin-Mazurian region), carries out alcohol breath tests each morning, Gazeta Prawna reports. The very next day after the breathalyzer was put into practice, two workers were sent home after displaying a blood alcohol level of 2.7 and 3.4 mg respectively.
According to Gazeta Prawna there is an increased market demand to implement such monitoring methods. This is reaffirmed by companies who specialize in offering monitoring services and equipment. Companies offering monitoring services such as A Plus C have up to 100 customers per month inquiring about their services. A major concern for implementing such monitoring services and devices is not so much the protection of trade secrets or confidential information within the workplace, but to increase the productivity levels of the employees.
Such monitoring, according to Gazeta Prawna, may increase efficiency at work by 40 percent. No study was carried out to indicate whether stringent control over workers’ activities decreases morale within the workplace. Trade unions are being increasingly approached to negotiate such monitoring measures. According to Transport Workers Trade Union (ZZPRC), negotiations always concern email monitoring and the installation of cameras in office spaces and work related areas.
Should an employer decide to carry out monitoring within the workplace, he/she must first notify the employees and describe the monitoring process involved. If this is not carried out, an employer may be sued by his/her workers for a breach of privacy which is protected by Art. 24 of the Civil Code.