Toll Transport Pty Ltd T/A Toll Shipping v Transport Workers’ Union of Australia (2018)
The Transport Workers Union (TWU) and Toll Transport Pty Ltd (Toll) were involved in a dispute before the Fair Work Commission (FWC) involving the proposed installation of surveillance devices in Toll’s vehicles to monitor drivers’ fatigue and distraction.
The TWU argued:
- the surveillance devices would also monitor non-driving activities, which was intrusive;
- the recorded information could be used by Toll for purposes other than safety; and
- the infrared light involved in the distraction monitoring system was not sufficiently tested and may harm drivers’ eyes. No expert evidence was presented by the TWU to support this claim.
- the surveillance devices were to aid drivers by increasing safety;
- the infrared light involved in the distraction-monitoring system would not damage driver’s eyes (Toll submitted expert evidence to support its position);
- its competitors were using the technology;
- the technology was a requirement for some logistics contracts;
- the devices assisted Toll to comply with its safety obligations under its enterprise agreement and work health and safety legislation; and
- as a matter of managerial prerogative, it was entitled to introduce the surveillance devices.
The FWC held:
- the safety benefits of the surveillance devices outweighed the TWU’s concerns;
- Toll’s policies explained the use of the devices;
- any footage recorded could be used by either party if a future dispute arose; and
- Toll could implement the surveillance devices.
Prior to the introduction of surveillance devices, it is important to:
- check the applicable workplace surveillance laws in your state or territory, as these laws vary significantly across Australia – what might be lawful in one state may not be in another;
- comply with any requirements (like consultation) under an applicable enterprise agreement or award; and
- have cogent reasons for introducing surveillance devices. This will help you in any negotiations with unions and/or employees, and if required, assist you to deal with any dispute that may arise about the implementation.