November 8, 2022

Employee fired for not keeping webcam on

This post was written by: Laaibah Bhatti

In August of 2022, a telemarketer who refused to keep his webcam on whilst working was fired by Chetu, the US IT company he had worked for since 2019.

The employee was told to share his screen and leave his camera on whilst working.  When he declined, the company fired him for ‘refusal to work’.

The employee had refused by saying ‘I don’t feel comfortable being monitored for nine hours a day by a camera. This is an invasion of my privacy and makes me feel uncomfortable. That is the reason why my camera is not on. You can already monitor all activities on my laptop, and I am sharing my screen’.  However, Chetu argued that this was no different from an employee being observed in an office environment.

Chetu did not appear at the court hearing neither did they provide a statement.

In September, the European Court of Human Rights disagreed with the company and stated ‘Video surveillance of an employee in the workplace, be it covert or not, must be considered as a considerable intrusion into the employee’s private life’.

There was no sufficient justification for the monitoring by Chetu, and therefore the employee’s privacy rights had been violated.

Surveillance in the workplace is increasingly becoming an area of contention between companies wishing to keep tabs on their employees.  The pandemic has seen a rise on companies implementing various methods of surveillance but this recent case has highlighted how worker’s rights need to be considered carefully to ensure privacy is not unduly infringed.

Experiencing unjust treatment at work can be overwhelming. At Aston Bond, we act in all areas of employment law such as unfair, wrongful, and constructive dismissals and discrimination claims.

We work with you to understand the issues at the core of your grievance. Our experienced team ensure your matters are dealt with quickly and amicably where possible. We offer realistic solutions to suit you.

For more information, please contact Ilinca Mardarescu (Head of Employment)