Know your rights: Surveillance in the workplace 30th June, 2021
I am working from home during COVID-19. Should my employer have a policy on internet and email usage and what activities are they allowed to monitor when I am working from home?
You have a right to privacy in the workplace. However, your right to privacy is balanced against your employer’s rights to run their business and protect their company.
Your employer should give you their policy on email and internet use in the workplace, including the use of social media. This is known as an Acceptable Usage Policy (AUP).
When you work from home (also called remote working), your employer should follow the same rules in relation to monitoring your work. This should include telling you:
- Who is monitoring you
- What they are monitoring
- How they are monitoring you
- When they are monitoring you
Your employer should tell you if they are using employee surveillance software, for example, to track your mouse and keyboard activity, your use of email, social media, files and applications, and so on. This may be contained in a policy provided by the employer.
Monitoring must be necessary, legitimate and proportionate
If your employer wants to monitor your internet use or emails, it must be necessary, legitimate and proportionate.
Necessary: Your employer must be sure that monitoring is necessary. They should consider less intrusive ways of supervising you before deciding on monitoring. For example, blocking websites would be less intrusive – and generally more acceptable – than monitoring your internet search history.
Legitimate: The monitoring should have a legal basis. For example, to make sure employees are not using the internet to download pornography, or to disclose confidential company information to people outside the organisation.
Proportionate: Your employer’s monitoring must be proportionate to the risk of the perceived threat. Proportionality means it must be fair, measured and reasonable in terms of its objectives. Monitoring all of your emails to make sure you are not passing on confidential information about the company would not be proportionate. However, monitoring your emails using an automated system to scan for viruses would probably be considered proportionate.
Read more about surveillance in the workplace: https://www.citizensinformation.ie/en/employment/employment_rights_and_conditions/data_protection_at_work/surveillance_of_electronic_communications_in_the_workplace.html
Know your rights: Free cancer screening programmes
Do I need to register for the free cancer screening programmes and when do I become eligible?
The National Cancer Screening Service provides free screening programmes to help find or prevent different types of cancer. If you have any specific concerns or symptoms you should visit your GP (family doctor).
Cancer screening services are continuing during COVID-19.
BowelScreen is a national screening programme to find signs of bowel cancer at an early stage, where there are no symptoms. The programme provides free bowel screening for men and women aged between 60 and 69 every two years.
If you are aged between 60 and 69 years and haven’t received an invitation for bowel screening, call Freephone 1800 45 45 55 to check if you’re on the register. If you are not on the register, you can add your details over the phone. You can also register for BowelScreen online on https://www2.hse.ie/screening-and-vaccinations/bowel-screening/register-for-bowel-screening.html
CervicalCheck is a national screening programme to prevent cervical cancer. Women and people with a cervix can get a free cervical screening test if they are aged between 25 and 65.
If you are on the CervicalCheck register, you’ll get a letter when your test is due. The letter will invite you to make an appointment with a registered GP, doctor or clinic.
You do not need to wait for a letter to book an appointment if:
- You missed your last cervical screening test
- Your next test is due
You also do not need to be on the register to have a free screening test. If your test is due, you can book a test with a GP or nurse who is registered with CervicalCheck. You can find one in your area by visiting cervicalcheck.ie or by calling Freephone 1800 45 45 55.
BreastCheck is a national screening programme to help find breast cancer at an early stage. The programme offers all women between the ages of 50 and 69 a mammogram (an x-ray of the breast) free of charge every 2 years.
If you have not received an invitation for an appointment, check if you are registered by visiting breastcheck.ie or by calling Freephone 1800 45 45 55. If you are not registered, you can register online.
During the COVID-19 pandemic you can contact your local Citizens Information Centre:
• Bray CIC on 0761 07 6780 Monday to Friday, 9am-5pm
• Email Bray CIC at firstname.lastname@example.org – anytime
A limited number of appointments are being made in Bray Citizens Information Centre
You can find comprehensive integrated information online at citizensinformation.ie/covid19/ and you can get daily updates on what’s changed on Twitter at @citizensinfo. You can also get information and advice from:
Citizens Information Phone Service: Call 0761 07 4000, Monday to Friday,
9am – 8pm
- Our national call back service: Visit citizensinformation.ie/callback to request a phone call from an information officer