CCTV images of colleague breached confidentiality
National Amusements UK Ltd t/a Showcase Cinemas v Thomson, the EAT held that an
employer is entitled to characterise downloading images from CCTV of a
colleague allegedly being “slack”, as misuse of confidential
used CCTV to film employees and the public at the cinema. All employees were
aware of strict requirements to maintain confidentiality about CCTV data. Mr
Thomson lodged a grievance alleging that fellow employees “were not
pulling their weight”. He claimed he could support his allegations because
he had downloaded CCTV footage showing one of his colleagues “being slack”. He
was summarily dismissed for breach of confidentiality and unauthorised
downloading of footage of a colleague.
employment tribunal found that Mr Thompson had been unfairly dismissed
primarily because the images did not contain any confidential information,
being “no more confidential than a diary note or photograph that could
have been taken on the claimant’s mobile phone”, according to the
The EAT overturned
the tribunal’s decision. It held that the tribunal had fallen into the error of
substituting its own judgment for what it would have done in the employer’s
position. The employer was entitled to take a common-sense approach when
categorising the information as confidential. Downloading images of a colleague
on CCTV without authority was clearly an act of serious misconduct and the
decision to dismiss was manifestly within the range of reasonable responses
given all the circumstances of the case.
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