Time theft: spot monitoring in the workplace admitted as evidence

Release date: June 1st, 2015

A mechanic challenged his dismissal for having grossly and repeatedly exceeded scheduled break times. During the hearing, the arbitrator handed down an interlocutory judgment whereby the employer was allowed to produce as evidence the results of monitoring by means of a camera set up on an ad hoc basis in the mechanics’ workshop. The arbitrator concluded that the employer had real and serious reasons to believe that a group of mechanics were extending their break times. According to the arbitrator, video monitoring was necessary, given that the employer’s reminders stressing the importance of abiding by the work schedule had been of no avail, and that the mechanics were working without immediate supervision, so that it was difficult for the employer to use other means to validate his concerns. Finally, the camera had been set up in the mechanics’ glassed-in office, i.e. a place where they could hardly expect any significant level of privacy.

Hydro-Québec v. Canadian Union of Public Employees, Local 1500 2015 QCTA 90, DTE 2015T-147 (T.A.) Claude Martin Esq.

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