A Chilean Labor Court has recently ruled against an employer who provided a webcam to a teleworking employee and used it to supervise his working activities. This decision emphasizes the limits of utilizing surveillance methods and equipment over remote workers in the region.
In this case, the employer provided a webcam to the teleworking employee and required him to carry out any work activities with the camera “permanently turned on and focused.” The employee claimed the constant usage of the camera violated his physical and mental integrity, impacted his holiday and working time track, and forced him to record his bathroom times. More importantly, the employer failed to provide a written document regarding how the webcam should be used in a teleworking environment.
The court decided that the employer failed to indicate how the camera would fulfill the function as working equipment or specify the hours the camera would operate. Additionally, the employer violated Department of Labor’s opinions 2328/130 and 3125, which regulate the fundamental rights of workers including the right to the worker’s dignity, honor, private life, inviolability of all forms of private communication by inadequately justifying the surveillance measure. The court ordered a reinstatement with full compensation.
Outlook: Employers in Chile should exercise caution regarding camera use to supervise teleworking as it could violate an employee’s privacy. In Mexico, employers should not supervise employees in this way except in cases where the nature of the functions performed require such supervision. If employers choose to supervise employees in this way, they must also maintain the privacy of their employees.