Video Surveillance can Constitute Constructive Dismissal

Defining an employee’s right to privacy is currently a hot topic in employment law. Recently, the Ontario Superior Court took a step toward safeguarding an employee’s right to privacy, determining that the unjustified covert video surveillance of an employee can constitute constructive dismissal, according to an employment law and labour bulletin from the employment law firm Shields, O’Donnell, MacKillop in Toronto, Ont.

Colleen Colwell was a commercial manager at Cornerstone Properties. She discovered that a hidden camera had been placed in her office by her direct supervisor, Trent Krauel. Krauel claimed that the camera was installed for the purpose of detecting theft by the maintenance staff. While there had been some instances of theft at Cornerstone, Colwell had never had anything stolen from her office. Krauel stated that he trusted Colwell, that he wanted her to remain in her position, and that she was not a suspect. Colwell could not understand why, if she was not a suspect, she had not been informed of existence of the camera.

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