DLP Insights

Company cameras: images that can be used as evidence

Categories: DLP Insights, Case Law | Tag: data protection, Company cameras

27 Jul 2021

The Court of Appeal of Venice, in ruling no. 476 of 28 June, 2021, ruled about remote control, considering video recordings of cameras on company premises to be entirely usable.

Facts of the case

A company (a gambling house) had used the images collected through a video surveillance system installed on the company’s premises to initiate two separate disciplinary proceedings against an employee.

The employee, a cashier, was accused of embezzling money from the company’s cash register through various contrivances to make up for shortfalls, attributable to her, in the payment of winnings to customers and realise capital gains to her own advantage.

The judge during the summary proceeding considered the video recordings to be entirely usable as they were covered by the trade union agreement under the legislation on remote control. The only formal defect was that the employer had failed to produce the footage collected during the disciplinary proceedings.

Against the employee objection, the judge reformed the order of the summary proceeding, considering that the video recordings could not be used. Therefore the unlawful acts were not proved, with a consequent order for the company to reinstate the employee in her job (under art. 18, paragraph 4 of the Workers’ Statute).

The losing company appealed.

The Court of Appeal’s ruling

The Court of Appeal, upholding the company’s appeal, noted that:

  • the employee had been correctly informed of the installation of cameras on company premises, especially in her capacity as union representative;
  • she had often behaved irregularly and conspicuously assuming “postures typical of someone who has stolen something and tries to conceal the theft” (behaviour confirmed by colleagues);
  • the facts alleged in both disciplinary proceedings brought against her had been proven in court by the video footage and the written reports and related allegations.

In addition, interpreting the trade union agreement signed, the Court of Appeal noted that the images collected through the video surveillance system installed could be used for disciplinary purposes if there had been conduct “of particular importance or seriousness.”

For these reasons, the Court of Appeal considered the employee’s conduct to be “undoubtedly serious and capable of irreparably damaging the employer’s trust in the correctness of future performance” and recognised that all the conditions for dismissal for just cause were met.

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