Selective surveillance of an employee deemed reasonable

Release date: July 2, 2012

An external planner challenges his dismissal. The employer complains of a series of irregularities and the disappearance of certain items. The union objects to the admissibility of the video evidence recorded by the employer. To begin with, the arbitrator specifies that video surveillance aimed exclusively and continuously at the employee’s work station is a violation of his privacy, but this does not mean that this evidence is therefore inadmissible. The employer proved that, before authorizing surveillance, he had reasonable grounds to have doubts about the employee’s honesty, as the latter had ordered parts for an engine block heater that had disappeared. In addition, when the employee’s office was searched, a hydraulic motor was found, a part that should not have been in this location, and this discovery reinforced the employer’s doubts. Finally, this selective surveillance was conducted as unobtrusively as possible. Consequently, the video evidence is admissible. Syndicat des employées et employés de métiers d’Hydro-Québec, Local 1500 v. Hydro-Québec, 2010EXPT-2229, DTE 2010T-669 (T.A.) Me Denis Nadeau.

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