Category: Spain

Spanish Constitutional Court legitimates employee monitoring without prior information

17. March 2016

In March 2016, the Spanish Constitutional Court rectified the existing Spanish jurisprudence regarding employee monitoring. This rectification is based on a constitutional appeal from an employee of a well-known fashion store, who was dismissed due to misappropriation of money from the cash register.

The company found out this conduct through the video surveillance cameras that it had installed in its premises. A distinctive sign was placed at a visible place of the shop window. However, the employees were not informed about the use of the surveillance cameras.

According to Art. 5.1 and Art. 6.1 of the Spanish Data Protection Act, the data subject must be informed about the processing of his/her personal data and give his/her unambiguous consent to this processing.

In this sentence, the Spanish Constitutional Court declares that the prior information and consent of the employee to video recording is not required in this case because a video surveillance system aims at contributing to the control and security of employees. Additionally, as a visible distinctive sign had been placed at the premises, the employer was exempted from informing each employee individually. Furthermore, Art. 20 of the Spanish Statute of Rights for Workers allows the employer to control and monitor its employees, in order to ensure that they fulfill their obligations. In this sense, the monitoring cannot violate the employee´s dignity.