The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) has launched an investigation into Barclays over allegations that the bank was spying on its staff, the regulator confirmed on Sunday (9 August).
The probe was first reported by The Sunday Telegraph, who said the UK’s privacy watchdog had confirmed a formal probe was ongoing, though did not say when the investigation was set to conclude.
It comes after reports emerged earlier this year that the bank was piloting software that monitors how employees spend their time at work.
The system allowed managers to track how long employees were spending away from their desks, as well as the amount of time taken to complete tasks.
According to City AM, it also told staff to “avoid breaks” as it monitored their productivity in real-time, and recorded activities such as toilet visits as “unaccounted activity”.
An insider told the paper that “the stress this is causing is beyond belief” and “shows an utter disregard for employee wellbeing”.
They added: “Employees are worried to step away from their desks, have full lunch breaks, take bathroom breaks or even get up for water as we are not aware of the repercussions this might have on our statistics.”
An ICO spokesman told the Sunday Telegraph: “People expect that they can keep their personal lives private and that they are also entitled to a degree of privacy in the workplace.
“If organisations wish to monitor their employees, they should be clear about its purpose and that it brings real benefits. Organisations also need to make employees aware of the nature, extent and reasons for any monitoring.”
Barclays declined to comment on the investigation.