Subject: Newsletter October 2017

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Chamber Newsletter - October 2017

Monitoring Your Staff? The Dos and Don'ts

Watford employers who monitor their employees' internet use, emails, social media activity or use cameras in the workplace need to strike a balance between safeguarding legitimate business interests and respecting individual privacy rights.

An independent European advisory body known as the Article 29 Working Party has recently published some useful guidance which local employers should consider when monitoring staff.

There are three main principles for employers to consider: 
1. Any staff monitoring must be necessary, proportionate and be as least intrusive as possible.
2. Staff should be aware that they are being monitored.
3. Employers should never solely use automated systems involving the processing of an individual's data when making decisions about a member of staff, particularly in relation to performance matters, unless consent is given.

What About Social Media?
Employers need to have a legal basis if monitor an employee's social media profile. This is particularly true during a recruitment process, even if the profile is publically available. Employers should only process data that is necessary and relevant to the job, and should delete it when it becomes clear that no job offer will be made to a candidate.
Businesses will also find it difficult to justify monitoring all online activity of theirr staff. Such actions are likely to be judged as disproportionate. Employees must be notified of any monitoring and the methods used should cause as little invasion of privacy as possible.

So, What Should I Do Now?
Watford employers should ensure their monitoring policies are compliant with the new guidance. They should also adopt systems for monitoring which are transparent and fair. This is particularly important with the introduction of the new General Data Protection Regulations in 2018.

For more information, please contact Michael Delaney, in VWV's Employment Law team, on 01923 919 316.

Message from Lee Walsingham, CEO Watford & West Herts Chamber of Commerce:

We have strengthened our team: we are delighted to welcome new staff member Saffron Johnson who joins the Chamber from Wenta Business Service.

We are delighted to have Saffron on board, she joins us to take on the new role of Membership Development Manager. Her key roles will be to improve member communications and develop our membership base, and will drive forward our ongoing dialogue with our membership and help us improve our responsiveness to the needs of local business.

Saffron who was previously Business Centre Manager at Wenta’s Watford site had has a wealth of experience of delivering high levels of customer service to business.

Please feel free to contact Saffron ( if you have any membership queries, or if you are not already a member she will be delighted to speak to you.

A big thank you to solicitors VWV for their generous sponsorship of our monthly newsletter for the next 12 months. They are also sponsoring our Christmas lunch where our featured charity will be Watford Home Start, have you booked yet?

With the autumn approaching our events programme is in place through to Christmas, we are always looking for fresh ideas for future events and would welcome your suggestions.
Details of our planned events through to the end of the year are detailed in the Newsletter, we look forward to seeing you.

On 25th September 2017 we ran the Chamber Golf Challenge 2017 at Moor Park Golf Club. A big thank you to our main sponsor Greenfleets Vehicle Leasing, plus all our other sponsors and donors who made it possible for us to raise £1800 for Watford Workshop

Congratulations to Sweeny's for winning our fourth Chamber Golf Tournament (picture below)!

Upcoming events
Peninsula Free Business Event - HR Policy Update
Wednesday 25th October 2017 (Start 9.30am / Finish 12.45pm)
Laura Ashley The Manor Hotel, Barnet Lane, WD6 3RE, Elstree

Business Support Event - "What grants are available to my business?"
Thursday 2nd November 2017 (Start 6.00pm / Finish 8.00pm)
Halkin Offices, The Junction, Station Road, WD17 1ET, Watford

Networking at Watford FC
Friday 17th November 2017 (Registration 12pm / Finish 2.30pm)
Elton John Suite, Watford FC, Vicarage Road, WD18 0ER, Watford

Networking Breakfast - Get your Business GDPR ready!
Tuesday 5th December 2017 (Start 7.15am)
Business Lounge, West Herts College, WD17 3EZ, Watford

Chamber Christmas Lunch at Moor Park Mansion
Thursday 7th December 2017 (Start 12.45pm / Finish 1.45pm)
Moor Park Golf Club, WD3 1QL, Rickmansworth

To book for any of these events, please visit:

New Chamber Members

Collaborate your way to success on 24th November!

Would you like your business to be talked about in the regional business community? Of course you would, right?

The Chamber is an Associate Partner of an event that can help raise awareness of your business in a number of different ways. It’s called The Watford Business Show on the 24th November, and there over 400 attendees expected with sponsors including WorldPay, Penman Sedgwick LLP, Watford Borough Council. There are good keynote speakers including one from Lord Sugar’s business. A proper, quality event.

Having an exhibitor stand at the event will raise awareness of your brand, let you talk directly to hundreds of business people in an atmosphere of mutual collaboration and support, provide an opportunity to build your marketing database, and it might even deliver a client or two.

Book you stand soon and you’ll qualify for the brilliant early-bird deal. Use the exclusive code HERCHA36 for Watford Chamber associates and you’ll receive the early bird deal – saving £100 from the standard price of £300, as well as a FREE Showbag insert worth £99+VAT - what a bargain! 

This offer is only valid until 13th October 2017.

Email privacy in the workplace - a new headache for employers?

The European Court of Human Rights has reversed one of its own rulings to rule that the monitoring of an employee's Yahoo messenger account is unlawful and a breach of the employees rights to privacy under Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights.

The ECHR had previously ruled that a Romanian employer acted lawfully when it monitored an employee's Yahoo messenger account but on an appeal to the Grand Chamber (17 judges) the decision has been reversed.

Basically, the ECHR has ruled that workers have a right to respect for their privacy in the workplace (notwithstanding that they might be using the employer's systems) and if an employer is going to monitor their emails and messages, the employer should (unless there are exceptional reasons not to) tell the worker that their email or other communications might be monitored. Here, the employee knew that he wasn't to use work computers for personal purposes but hadn't been told that the employer was monitoring his Yahoo messenger account. A minor omission you might think but one that cost the employer dear in this case.

How does that impact here? As we're still in the EU (for the moment) and still a signatory to the convention, UK courts will have regard to ECHR decisions. Direct remedies for breaches of the Human Rights Act 1998 are limited unless you're a public authority but in the private sector this issue is going to arise when employment tribunals are considering issues such as reasonableness in the context of an unfair dismissal claim Is it going to be reasonable for an employer to rely on evidence obtained via a breach of the employee's right to privacy?

So, top tip for the day; time to dust off that IT policy and make sure that it explicitly states that you reserve the right to monitor, identify what it is you're going to monitor, re-circulate the policy and (ideally) get employees to sign to signify their agreement.

Looking to book your Christmas Party?

Sandy Lodge Golf Club is offering 10% discount for any Chamber member looking to host their Christmas Party at the Club.

Contact Sandy Lodge GC for more information.

This communication is provided for information purpose only and does not form part of any contract or agreement.
Watford & West Herts Chamber of Commerce | Company Registration No: 2055398 | VAT Reg No: 449 4421 36
Unit 47, Wenta Business Centre, WD24 7NF, Watford, United Kingdom
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