Recording Employee Conversations - CiteHR
Dinesh Divekar
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Can an organisation record employee conversations through CCTV w/o their knowledge or consent?? Is it legal to do so and can these be used to take action against employee?
Hi ,
See now a days most of the companies have CCTV for safety and security reasons .
so there is nothing harm in it .
Now regarding your question , if the conversations are objectionable and are violating the
code of conduct of the company / organisation then yes the management has right to take
appropriate action .
Rajeev Dixit

Dear Jls1900,

Firstly, I doubt whether CCTV has facility to do audio recording. CCTV just captures videos and nothing else.

Secondly, even if it is believed that CCTV can capture the audio also even then also will it tantamount to policing on the employees? What is the prime objective of running an enterprise? Is it giving value to the stakeholders, is it providing quality goods or services to its customers or keeping an eye on the employees surreptitiously? Will it not demotivate the employees? If yes, then will you be able to measure the cost of demotivation?

The unsaid part of your post is lack of trust on certain section of the employees. Why things have come to such a pass that you felt need to record the conversation of the employees? Your need shows the vitiated culture of the organisation.

Sometimes, the conversation with the customers is recorded for the training purposes. Going further, few airlines record videos also to track the customer dissatisfaction. Therefore, please specify the exact purpose of your activity. Without that it may not be possible to provide the exact solution.


Dinesh Divekar

CCTV can record only images, not voices... May be technologically feasible in the long run, now your query / posting must be a good area for research and technology upgradation !!!!! But tell me, why you are afraid of company recording your voices.... Does it mean that you have been speaking in an unauthorised or improper manner ! Perhaps the conscience pricks..... So long as you are honest in your work and inter-personal relations with colleagues and management you dont have to be afraid of CCTV or anything else, right ?
JLS1990 - Can? Yes. Legal? No. Should Employer do it? No(Even if you gain their signature or approval). Why? Because you are then demotivating employees to speak up and making it a cattleshed firm, leading your employees like cattle and you'll eventually lose your employees.
The whole purpose of a CCTV is to address the need for security at the workplace. Not to stifle their creativity. Not for any other purpose.
Recording a conversation serves no competitive purpose - Employees aren't going to be talking to recruiters or potential employers at their workplace anyways.

To my knowledge there is no legitimate process available in establishments. May be in high security and sensitive areas there could be such arrangements. If you have enough agreed provisions in your Standing Orders, may be you could deploy with the consent of the employees concerned. But where is the gadgets? You want use methods like spying ? There are work places where heavy machinery with loud noise are deployed. Such places mikes are always on to give instructions to work men on duty and to convey/sound fire alarms in emergencies. Same methods could be used in combination with CCTVs.?
Now a days even mobile phone can record images and conversation. Recordings may be technologically feasible through CCTV in the long run, but why to worry of that, does it mean that one have been speaking in an unauthorised or improper manner or asking for something wrong!!
Now, recordings on mobile phone can get a person questioned. Delhi Police and Delhi Govt. are questioning their staff about the recordings sent to them and also taking actions if found guilty.
If one is honest in his work and inter-personal relations with colleagues and management, one need not be afraid of anything.
Mathur AK

If the CCTV is placed in a rest room in such a way that the conversations (whether audio is available or not) of workers can be viewed, then such practice is illegal as was decided in a very recent case by Madras High Court in Raptakos Brett Employees' Union Vs Dy.Commissioner of Labour and Raptakse Brett & Co Ltd.

First the purpose of such an exercise seems contrary to the essentials of a sound organization which must consider employees as assets and strength. There will be no value addition rather it will be considered by employees as breach of trust. On the same lines will the Management also allow similar exercise to benefit employees also to have access CCTV views of their management meetings & Board meetings?
Recording of conversations may not be a right thing to do in any normal company.
Placement of CCTVs may be justified on security grounds where there is general public interface or costly items to be secured.
Whenever CCTV is installed,sign boards need to be put up intimating that place is under cctv coverage.
Value addition of CCTV is mainly for security purpose.
We need to trust employees and then only can we get full output from them.

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