Do I need to give consent for my employer to monitor me at work?

Employers must generally inform staff about any monitoring arrangements and should, through proper consultation, take account of any objections that staff have to those arrangements. However, employers who can justify monitoring on the basis of a properly conducted impact assessment do not generally need the consent of individual workers (there is an exception for sensitive information such as health data, where consent is required). To the extent that consent is needed, employers tend to include a written term in the contract of employment, so that employees 'consent' to the monitoring when they sign their contract

Even if workers freely give their consent, the employer should still conduct a proper impact assessment to make sure that the monitoring is necessary and justified and that any negative effects are outweighed by the benefits that the monitoring arrangements will bring. The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) strengthens the need for this impact assessment. 

Clearly express informed consent is required where an employer sets out to collect sensitive data (for example, information about workers’ health) through monitoring. 

There is an exemption to allow employers to collect data to monitor equality of opportunity, as long as the exercise is carried out in a way that safeguards privacy (usually done by anonymising the results and ensuring that they are not available to whoever is responsible for selecting the candidates). 

Note: This content is provided as general background information and should not be taken as legal advice or financial advice for your particular situation. Make sure to get individual advice on your case from your union, a source on our free help page or an independent financial advisor before taking any action.

What is WorkSmart?

A career coach that works for everyone.


Enjoy bite-sized activities delivered to you every week.

Lightbulb brain

Equip yourself with essential skills to be the best you yet.


Get the guidance you need to stay focused and reach your goals.

Worksmart circle