Our organisation uses Microsoft Teams. An employee has objected to being asked to turn their camera on during calls.
Do others insist that cameras be on and if so, what was your lawful basis (obviously not consent)? Can it be linked to a contractual employment obligation, or is it necessary to carry out a legitimate interests assessment? I’m waiting to hear from the business what reason was given for the request and why it might be considered to outweigh the general right to privacy.
Is anyone aware of any useful guidance on this?
I can’t point to any formal directive or guidance from a recognised source but for sure the employee can not be obligated to turn on the video feed. There can be many reasons why the employee may wish to remain off camera and their privacy needs to be respected. For example they may not want their living conditions show to work colleagues…..I would find it very unlikely the company could write into an employment contract a clause related to obligating video feeds!
Stupid question perhaps, but has someone already asked this particular employee on “why” he/she refuses to activate the camera? Perhaps it’s because he/she would be embarrassed to show her colleagues the activities on the background (not all computers are able to blur the background, it depends mainly on CPU strength)
And is this an outlier, or are there many cases? (I’m not a fan of defining a process to cover the exception, but that’s just me)
I’m not going to disagree with the replies already made. Just another way of looking at it.
An organisation might allow a member of staff to work from home rather than coming into the office, or even coming in to attend a meeting for an hour (not everyone lives next door to work).
If you are in a meeting F2F you can see peoples response to discussions (like, dislike, approval, non approval). I would be disappointed if people sat with there backs to the discussion table or wore a paper bag over their heads. How rude.
Is it not about respect to those in the discussion (i know some will say respect those who don’t want their camera on).
I do a lot of virtual training and many don’t have their cameras on. i don’t know if they are listening or engaged. I do know of some who logged in never participated yet got the certificate of attendance… Naughty.
I wonder if it will come down to company policy – camera on or come in for the meeting.
I will get my coat
I agree with Stephen that it is very difficult to weigh the privacy needs of an employee when working at home with whatever requirements the employer has for requiring a video (rather than just a voice call).
Within MS Teams there is an ability to blur the background or to overlay a virtual background so that someone’s private space remains as such.
It would be wise for the employer to assess the need for video and determine if they can achieve the same goal without the need for video. Is video processing necessary, is it appropriate in these unprecedented times? Of course, the employer might claim misconduct in refusing an instruction, but there are more problems there and the relationship is severely breaking down if it gets to that.
I can’t see how a video call would be necessary for the fulfilment of the employment contract, surely a voice call is sufficient. An LIA would assess if there are any legitimate interests, not sure how you’d ensure the employees rights are upheld