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Monitoring Polish employees after GDPR

In the wake of GDPR, Poland has adopted a number of measures related to employee monitoring. Enshrined in the Polish Labor Code, there are a number of issues one should be aware of now when carrying on business in Poland.

Video monitoring

An employer can now utilise video monitoring only when it is considered necessary for furthering employee safety, property protection, production supervision and ensuring the confidentiality of information. Utilization is allowed in places of work; whereas monitoring is forbidden in areas more personal in nature, such as changing rooms, restroom facilities, breakrooms and commons spaces. Surveillance cannot be used for tracking work time spent or to assess employee performance.

Recorded images can be stored for no more than three months; unless images are related to a legal proceeding (whereupon images can be retained until completion).

Email correspondence

Unlike video, email can be monitored, provided the purpose is for tracking work time and ensuring the proper usage of said email accounts. Surveillance cannot infringe upon privacy – it cannot look into personal emails – but if a corporate email policy is properly structured, an employer can minimize such an exception. There is no storage time period limit. Email retention must be related to purpose in order to ensure maximum storage periods.

Collective agreements and work regulations

Notwithstanding the form of monitoring utilized, objectives, scopes and methods must be set out in collective agreements and work regulations, which must be provided to an employee in writing prior to work commencement. In addition, employees must be formally notified two weeks prior to the commencement of any such monitoring program. The employer is also required to fully delineate premises and areas monitored through the use of signage and other forms of notice.

Employee consent

The introduction of monitoring does not require employee consent under the Labor Code; only notification. If an employee does not agree with monitoring, dismissal can occur provided that the employer’s actions are in accordance with the Labor Code.

Already existing monitoring

If an employer already has existing video and other forms of monitoring installed, the employer is required to become compliant with the Labor Code. Compliance failure results in certain liabilities for the employer, including the inability to use monitoring in an employee dismissal proceeding.