Is Covert Surveilance a Breach of Human Rights?

Is Covert Surveilance a Breach of Human Rights?

An interesting case (City & Council of Swansea v Gayle) went before the EAT recently regarding the above issue.
In the case Mr Gayle was dismissed after his employer obtained covert surveillance of him at a sports centre whilst he was being paid to work on no less than five occasions.
Noting that the video surveillance was taken at a public place the EAT held the surveillance did not infringe on Mr Gayle’s human rights (he had claimed their conduct breached Article 8 of the Human Rights Act – the right to private and family life. They confirmed that when an employee is on an employer’s time there is no reasonable expectation that he could keep from his employer what he was doing or where he was. The EAT also pointed out that only if there are obvious faults in the investigation is it likely the dismissal will be held unfair.
It is pleasing to see this decision and the common sense on which it is based. ‘Violation of human rights’ is a common tactic by claimants to try and bring a claim against their employer where no substantive claim is present in employment law. In my humble view it is quite ridiculous for a claimant to try and claim unfair dismissal when they have been caught red handed visiting a sports centre whilst on paid work time 5 times. As long as the employer has followed the accepted procedure to ensure the dismissal is fair they should safely be able to dismiss rogue employees such as Mr Gayle without fear of a spurious tribunal claim.
If you believe you may have an unfair dismissal claim then call our team of specialist employment lawyers who can advise you on your rights and assess the value of damages you could potentially win if your case was successful.
Written by Ian Abel

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