For staff training or even performance appraisal purposes, employers may wish to record employees' "IT actions" when they are on the phone with clients.
Are there any specific rules employers should be aware of before doing so?
WHAT ARE WE TALKING ABOUT?
The situation is quite common: an employer wants to capture, through a screenshot or a video, the images that appear on employees’ computer screens while recording their professional telephone conversations. Unsurprisingly, this kind of monitoring may be intrusive as it can lead employers to misappropriate employees’ personal information (e.g. confidential passwords).
That is why the CNIL, the French data protection watchdog, has issued guidelines, on September 17, 2019, to help employers understand their rights and obligations in the context of the GDPR.
In a nutshell, given the risk of intrusion into employees’ private life, the CNIL considers that combining telephone recordings and image recordings may be disproportionate when used for purposes other than training. The CNIL’s decision is based on article L.1121-1 of the French labor code, which provides that “no one may restrict individuals’ rights or individual and collective freedoms, unless such restrictions are justified by the nature of the task and proportionate to the aim pursued”.
Interestingly enough, the CNIL makes a distinction between screenshotting and video-recording.
SCREENSHOTTING SHOULD BE AVOIDED
The CNIL considers that capturing screenshots of employees’ computer screens is not a valid way to help them enhance their professional skills. The rationale behind this decision is that taking a fixed picture of an employee’s isolated action on his/her computer does not accurately and faithfully reflect his/her work.
VIDEO-RECORDING MAY BE AUTHORISED
On the contrary, video-recording an employee’s screen may be a valid training tool as it gives employers an opportunity to monitor employees’ IT actions on a continuous basis and accordingly to have a reasonable idea of their work. However, the CNIL has set several conditions for the video-recording to be valid, including:
We would be happy to help your business adjust to this new regulation.