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Wednesday, November 29, 2023

Reports of recording employees and customers of one of the pharmacy chains. Speech by the Commissioner for Human Rights

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In one of the largest pharmacy chains, cameras and microphones were to record conversations of employees, also with customers at the counters – employees were to sign consents to this, and customers were not informed about it. The Ombudsman addressed this matter to the president of the Supreme Pharmaceutical Council.

“Portals related to pharmacy and medicine have reported numerous complaints from pharmacists and pharmaceutical technicians, former or current employees of one of the largest pharmacy chains in Poland. They claim that in addition to video monitoring, microphones have also been installed in the chain’s pharmacies. They are supposed to record at each counter. both employees and customers. The information provided shows that patients were not informed about the recording of their visits to pharmacies,” the Commissioner for Human Rights said in a statement. An anonymous statement by a former employee was quoted that when signing the employment contract, she was also given two consents to sign: for image recording and sound recording. However, she only received a copy of the employment contract. She learned about where the microphones were installed from other employees. The management did not provide information about the reasons for the recording or what happened to the recordings afterwards.

The right to privacy

The Ombudsman emphasizes that the case concerns the right to privacy covered by the constitutional guarantee (Article 47 of the Constitution of the Republic of Poland). This includes: o persons practicing the profession of pharmacist, associated with professional secrecy. The patient, in turn – pursuant to the Act on Patient Rights and the Patient Ombudsman – has the right to keep confidential information obtained in connection with the performance of the medical profession by persons practicing a medical profession, including those providing health services. Confirmation of this right is found in Art. 34 of the Act on the profession of pharmacist.

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The article also shows that there may have been a violation of employee rights under the Labor Code. Pursuant to Art. 22 [2] KP, if it is necessary to ensure the safety of employees or protect property or control production or keep confidential information the disclosure of which could expose the employer to harm, the employer may introduce special supervision over the premises of the workplace or the area around the workplace in the form of technical measures enabling registration image. Video monitoring cannot cover sanitary rooms, locker rooms, canteens and smoking rooms, unless it is necessary to ensure security and secrecy.

In the letter, the Commissioner for Human Rights asks the president of the Supreme Pharmaceutical Council what has already been done to clarify the matter and whether the President of the Office for Personal Data Protection and the National Labor Inspectorate were notified about it.

Main photo source: Shutterstock

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