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Beware: Big Brother is watching

June 22, 2016


Many view workplace surveillance as being essential to protect the commercial interests of their business.

While there is no ‘right to privacy’ in Australia, most States and Territories have implemented device-specific legislation that regulates how surveillance of the workplace can be carried out.

Much of the legislation is complex and is frequently revised in order to keep pace with technology. The fact that it can be difficult to understand your obligations is no excuse. There are hefty penalties for those who get it wrong.

New South Wales and the Australian Capital Territory:

In both NSW and the ACT, you must expressly notify your employees of the surveillance that is to be carried out. This notice must be provided in writing and must be given at least 14 days prior to the surveillance commencing.

It is essential that you implement an effective Workplace Surveillance Policy in order to comply with the applicable legislation if you operate in either NSW or the ACT.

In NSW, the cameras used for the surveillance must also be clearly visible and there must be signs notifying people that they may be under surveillance in that area.

Victoria, Western Australia and the Northern Territory:

The express or implied consent of each employee is required in order to carry out optical surveillance in Victoria, Western Australia or the Northern Territory,

We strongly recommend implementing a Workplace Surveillance Policy if you intend to carry out workplace surveillance in Victoria, Western Australia or the Northern Territory.

Queensland, South Australia and Tasmania:

There is no specific legislation regulating optical surveillance in Queensland, South Australia or Tasmania. You should, however, be aware that it is generally an offence to use a listening device to overhear, record, monitor or listen to a private conversation without consent.

For more information on the recommendations and what this means for you, clients should contact the HR Assured team. If you’d like more information about the benefits of becoming an HR Assured client contact us today for an informal chat.