Israel: Surveillance/Monitoring In The Workplace

Last Updated: 28 May 2019
Article by Russell D. Mayer

The purpose of the Protection of Privacy Law, 5741-1981 (the "Law") is to prevent the infringement of another's privacy without their consent. Cameras are used for various purposes, among them, protecting property, preventing and revealing illegal acts, directing traffic, maintaining public order, and even supervising employees. The use of cameras and other surveillance tools can impinge on one's right to and expectation of privacy. For that reason, the Law distinguishes between the use of those methods in the public realm, where generally there is little or no expectation of privacy, versus in the private domain, where one would likely have an expectation of privacy. In light of this phenomenon, a question arises concerning the infringement of privacy due to the use of surveillance cameras in general, and in the workplace in particular, while weighing the employer's need or desire for security and monitoring of employees. The use of cameras and surveillance tools in the workplace challenges the Law's intention to protect the one's personal space, since they are capable of recording the employees' every move throughout the workday, and not solely the intended surveillance target. Therefore, the footage is suspected to include sensitive information that might result in the violation of the employee's right to privacy. The Privacy Protection Authority, in the context of its evaluation and balancing of the various interests, recently published directives of the Database Registrar regarding the use of surveillance in the workplace and in the framework of an employment relationship in order to clarify the Registrar's stance on this matter.

The Isaacov matter1 stipulated various ground rules regarding the topic of the protection of privacy in the workplace, as to the use of surveillance and information technologies. The ground rules also apply to businesses that are required by the Police to install surveillance cameras as a precondition for receiving a business license:

1. The employee's right to privacy must also be protected in the workplace.

2. The employer is obligated to be transparent in informing employees of the explicit details of any enacted policy regarding the use of surveillance devices and the reasons that justify, in the employer's opinion, the use thereof. The employee must willingly consent to the conditions of the monitoring. It should be clarified that the employee does not have the right to veto the policy, but has the right to be aware of the details of the monitoring, is entitled to state his/her position on the matter and have his/her concerns taken into consideration to the best of the employer's ability, while taking into account the purpose of the surveillance but must actually consent to the monitoring (resignation or termination of employment due to refusal to consent would likely give rise to entitlement to severance pay if the employee is entitled).

3. The employer must act in accordance with the principles of proportionality, reasonability, good faith and decency in the use of surveillance technologies in the workplace, and attempt to find alternative technologies that infringe less on the potential violation of the employees' privacy.

4. The employer's surveillance actions shall be constrained by the principle of legitimacy, which stipulates that the use of information will be restricted to specific purposes that are essential to the workplace and that are consistent with the employer's business plan, or that are derived from legislative provisions or the requirements of an official authority.

5. Excessive use of monitoring technologies, such as security cameras, which impinge upon the employees' right to privacy, may expose the employer to administrative and criminal sanctions. Furthermore, violation of the Law exposes the employer to civil lawsuits and may enable the employee to resign and be entitled to severance pay.

As mentioned above, the employee must consent to the policy that may infringe on his right to privacy. Nonetheless, the case law typically demonstrates that an employee's consent in any matter relating to his employment does not necessarily reflect his sincere agreement, since it is affected by the inherent hierarchy that exists in an employment relationship. Therefore, the employer must thoroughly examine the proportionality of the surveillance activities as well as his compliance with the principle of legitimacy. According to the Law, the employer must update the said policy every few years in order to adapt it to changes in the field and to refresh the employees' awareness of the policy's existence and content.

The employer must ensure that the employee is aware of the security cameras' locations, and may not rely merely on the employee's 'consent in principle' to their location and use. In the event that there is a legal prohibition regarding the installation of surveillance cameras in a certain workplace or location within a workplace, their installation may be considered a criminal offense. Hidden cameras do not comply with the limitations provision as they are considered to excessively infringe on the employee's right to privacy which would, generally, not justify the intention of the surveillance. If, for instance, the employee is unaware that s/he is being filmed, s/he will ostensibly not change his/her conduct to work more efficiently, thereby rendering the surveillance as an ineffective tool for motivating employees.

Prohibition of Camera Use for Other Purposes:

As noted, the use of recordings for purposes other than those that were previously permitted, unless the use is required by law or an official authority, is prohibited. Use of footage for a different purpose without consent or protection by law, even if it is legitimate in and of itself, constitutes excessive use and is a violation of Sections 2(9), 8(b) and 11 of the Law. Conclusions reached through that use are likely to be disqualified from being used as evidence in court.

The Placement of Cameras:

The legitimate placement of cameras is affected by an employee's reasonable expectation to privacy. Shared workspaces, although more public than a private office space, are considered within the realm of "personal space" as it relates to the expectation of privacy.

However, the placement of cameras in locations such as bathrooms, dressing rooms or other areas that are closed to the general public, would likely constitute a violation of the reasonable expectation of privacy and an intrusion of the employees' "personal space," which the employee is entitled to expect to be free of surveillance. Nevertheless, one may install cameras in specific locations around the workplace that are not traditional working areas, as long as there is a justification for the necessity of cameras in the said locations, as well as in public areas such as corridors or workplace areas that are accessible to clients. Clients need not be notified of the exact location of surveillance tools in public areas at a workplace that are installed to monitor client activity; nonetheless, employees must be made aware of their location. Since the goal of the surveillance of clients is not directed at the employees, failure to notify them would significantly and disproportionately infringe on their right to privacy.

Footnote

1 Labor Appeal 90/08 Tali Isaacov Inbar v. State of Israel - Commissioner for Women's Labor Law, etal. (Published in Nevo, February 8, 2011) (hereinafter: the "Isaacov Matter").

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

To print this article, all you need is to be registered on Mondaq.com.

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

Authors
Similar Articles
Relevancy Powered by MondaqAI
Ogletree, Deakins, Nash, Smoak & Stewart
 
Some comments from our readers…
“The articles are extremely timely and highly applicable”
“I often find critical information not available elsewhere”
“As in-house counsel, Mondaq’s service is of great value”

Related Topics
 
Similar Articles
Relevancy Powered by MondaqAI
Ogletree, Deakins, Nash, Smoak & Stewart
Related Articles
 
Up-coming Events Search
Tools
Print
Font Size:
Translation
Channels
Mondaq on Twitter
 
Mondaq Free Registration
Gain access to Mondaq global archive of over 375,000 articles covering 200 countries with a personalised News Alert and automatic login on this device.
Mondaq News Alert (some suggested topics and region)
Select Topics
Registration (please scroll down to set your data preferences)

Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including your content preferences, for three primary purposes (full details of Mondaq’s use of your personal data can be found in our Privacy and Cookies Notice):

  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting to show content ("Content") relevant to your interests.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, news alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our content providers ("Contributors") who contribute Content for free for your use.

Mondaq hopes that our registered users will support us in maintaining our free to view business model by consenting to our use of your personal data as described below.

Mondaq has a "free to view" business model. Our services are paid for by Contributors in exchange for Mondaq providing them with access to information about who accesses their content. Once personal data is transferred to our Contributors they become a data controller of this personal data. They use it to measure the response that their articles are receiving, as a form of market research. They may also use it to provide Mondaq users with information about their products and services.

Details of each Contributor to which your personal data will be transferred is clearly stated within the Content that you access. For full details of how this Contributor will use your personal data, you should review the Contributor’s own Privacy Notice.

Please indicate your preference below:

Yes, I am happy to support Mondaq in maintaining its free to view business model by agreeing to allow Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors whose Content I access
No, I do not want Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors

Also please let us know whether you are happy to receive communications promoting products and services offered by Mondaq:

Yes, I am happy to received promotional communications from Mondaq
No, please do not send me promotional communications from Mondaq
Terms & Conditions

Mondaq.com (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd (Mondaq). Mondaq grants you a non-exclusive, revocable licence to access the Website and associated services, such as the Mondaq News Alerts (Services), subject to and in consideration of your compliance with the following terms and conditions of use (Terms). Your use of the Website and/or Services constitutes your agreement to the Terms. Mondaq may terminate your use of the Website and Services if you are in breach of these Terms or if Mondaq decides to terminate the licence granted hereunder for any reason whatsoever.

Use of www.mondaq.com

To Use Mondaq.com you must be: eighteen (18) years old or over; legally capable of entering into binding contracts; and not in any way prohibited by the applicable law to enter into these Terms in the jurisdiction which you are currently located.

You may use the Website as an unregistered user, however, you are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the Content or to receive the Services.

You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these Terms or with the prior written consent of Mondaq. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information from the Content. Nor shall you extract information about users or Contributors in order to offer them any services or products.

In your use of the Website and/or Services you shall: comply with all applicable laws, regulations, directives and legislations which apply to your Use of the Website and/or Services in whatever country you are physically located including without limitation any and all consumer law, export control laws and regulations; provide to us true, correct and accurate information and promptly inform us in the event that any information that you have provided to us changes or becomes inaccurate; notify Mondaq immediately of any circumstances where you have reason to believe that any Intellectual Property Rights or any other rights of any third party may have been infringed; co-operate with reasonable security or other checks or requests for information made by Mondaq from time to time; and at all times be fully liable for the breach of any of these Terms by a third party using your login details to access the Website and/or Services

however, you shall not: do anything likely to impair, interfere with or damage or cause harm or distress to any persons, or the network; do anything that will infringe any Intellectual Property Rights or other rights of Mondaq or any third party; or use the Website, Services and/or Content otherwise than in accordance with these Terms; use any trade marks or service marks of Mondaq or the Contributors, or do anything which may be seen to take unfair advantage of the reputation and goodwill of Mondaq or the Contributors, or the Website, Services and/or Content.

Mondaq reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to take any action that it deems necessary and appropriate in the event it considers that there is a breach or threatened breach of the Terms.

Mondaq’s Rights and Obligations

Unless otherwise expressly set out to the contrary, nothing in these Terms shall serve to transfer from Mondaq to you, any Intellectual Property Rights owned by and/or licensed to Mondaq and all rights, title and interest in and to such Intellectual Property Rights will remain exclusively with Mondaq and/or its licensors.

Mondaq shall use its reasonable endeavours to make the Website and Services available to you at all times, but we cannot guarantee an uninterrupted and fault free service.

Mondaq reserves the right to make changes to the services and/or the Website or part thereof, from time to time, and we may add, remove, modify and/or vary any elements of features and functionalities of the Website or the services.

Mondaq also reserves the right from time to time to monitor your Use of the Website and/or services.

Disclaimer

The Content is general information only. It is not intended to constitute legal advice or seek to be the complete and comprehensive statement of the law, nor is it intended to address your specific requirements or provide advice on which reliance should be placed. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the Content for any purpose. All Content provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers hereby exclude and disclaim all representations, warranties or guarantees with regard to the Content, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. To the maximum extent permitted by law, Mondaq expressly excludes all representations, warranties, obligations, and liabilities arising out of or in connection with all Content. In no event shall Mondaq and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use of the Content or performance of Mondaq’s Services.

General

Mondaq may alter or amend these Terms by amending them on the Website. By continuing to Use the Services and/or the Website after such amendment, you will be deemed to have accepted any amendment to these Terms.

These Terms shall be governed by and construed in accordance with the laws of England and Wales and you irrevocably submit to the exclusive jurisdiction of the courts of England and Wales to settle any dispute which may arise out of or in connection with these Terms. If you live outside the United Kingdom, English law shall apply only to the extent that English law shall not deprive you of any legal protection accorded in accordance with the law of the place where you are habitually resident ("Local Law"). In the event English law deprives you of any legal protection which is accorded to you under Local Law, then these terms shall be governed by Local Law and any dispute or claim arising out of or in connection with these Terms shall be subject to the non-exclusive jurisdiction of the courts where you are habitually resident.

You may print and keep a copy of these Terms, which form the entire agreement between you and Mondaq and supersede any other communications or advertising in respect of the Service and/or the Website.

No delay in exercising or non-exercise by you and/or Mondaq of any of its rights under or in connection with these Terms shall operate as a waiver or release of each of your or Mondaq’s right. Rather, any such waiver or release must be specifically granted in writing signed by the party granting it.

If any part of these Terms is held unenforceable, that part shall be enforced to the maximum extent permissible so as to give effect to the intent of the parties, and the Terms shall continue in full force and effect.

Mondaq shall not incur any liability to you on account of any loss or damage resulting from any delay or failure to perform all or any part of these Terms if such delay or failure is caused, in whole or in part, by events, occurrences, or causes beyond the control of Mondaq. Such events, occurrences or causes will include, without limitation, acts of God, strikes, lockouts, server and network failure, riots, acts of war, earthquakes, fire and explosions.

By clicking Register you state you have read and agree to our Terms and Conditions