Monitor your domestic worker with a surveillance camera
The employer has the onus of proving that the dismissal was fair and lawful. When an employer has installed close circuit video surveillance cameras in order to monitor a domestic worker’s activities and believes he/she has video footage proving some misconduct, such as misappropriation of the employer’s property, the employer must ensure that the video evidence is admissible at the CCMA or any other tribunal.
In order to make surveillance footage admissible employers are advised to make employees aware that they are being monitored by means of security cameras. This can be done verbally but preferably in writing and in a document where an employee consents to such monitoring. Alternatively, the employer can display visible signage at his/her residence reflecting that the premises are being monitored by a surveillance camera/s.
Over and above admissibility, the video evidence should be of acceptable quality:
• The image on the video tape must be clear and must show the alleged misconduct.
• The video must be authenticated; in general this means that it must be shown not to have been tampered with in any way, e.g. it is no good to show an edited version that seeks only to highlight the alleged misconduct
Employers should ensure that they follow the correct disciplinary procedure when the employee commits any act of misconduct. Though there might be a good reason for dismissal, an employer is still required to comply with fair procedure which involves affording the employee the right to state his/ her case. Irrespective of the evidence of the surveillance footage against the employee, the employer must still comply with fair procedure preceding the decision to dismiss.
The employer should issue the employee with a written notice to attend a disciplinary hearing procedure:
• Setting out the charges/ allegations
• Informing the employee of the date, time and venue of the hearing
• Suspending the employee on full pay pending the outcome of the hearing
• Affording the employee adequate time to prepare for the hearing
• Allowing the employee to call witnesses
• Allowing the employee to be represented by a colleague, if any.