Canada

Garbage truck drivers taped by employer

Okanagan garbage truck drivers are outraged after their employer installed a surveillance camera on the windshield of one of the dump trucks, to keep an eye on employees.

Truck driver fears losing his job after speaking out

On Feb. 13, this surveillance camera was installed on a garbage truck owned by OK Environmental Waste Systems. Employees believe the camera was installed to see if drivers are texting on the job. (Contributed by: Andrew Shepherd)

Okanagan garbage truck drivers have lodged a formal complaint with B.C.'s information and privacy commissioner after their employer installed a surveillance camera to keep an eye on employees.

Drivers for OK Environmental Waste Systems said on Monday, management put a camera on the windshield of one of the trucks, about 50 centimetres from the driver's face.

"Well we're not happy about it. Not happy at all," said truck driver Andrew Shepherd.

Shepherd said the camera puts drivers on edge and obstructs the view through the windshield.

"The driver who had it, he's quite nervous being on camera all day. Like he was taking his driver test all day," said Shepherd.

Shepherd believes management is using the device to see if drivers are texting on the job.

"They didn't give any explanation. Only thing I heard is that it's a trial and if it's successful they are going to put them in all of them."

Surveillance cameras could be OK, says Privacy Commissioner

Truck drivers say the camera is installed on the windshield and obstructs their view. (Submitted by: Andrew Shepherd)

B.C.'s Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner says generally, it is uncomfortable with employers videotaping employees.

"We do view video surveillance as quite privacy invasive," said Catherine Tully, assistant commissioner responsible for investigations and mediation.

But Tully said OK Environmental Waste Systems could be within its rights to install the video cameras.

Tully said in some cases companies can collect video of their employees, but only if they've exhausted all other avenues of dealing with the problem.

Truck driver fears being fired

On Friday, the truck drivers, led by Andrew Shepherd, lodged a formal complaint with the information and privacy commission against OK Environmental Waste Systems. 

Shepherd said he's now worried he'll lose his job for speaking out.

He says he's been contacted by his employer and has been told he should have known better than to talk to the media about the camera.

"They are very mad," said Shepherd on Friday.

The owner of OK Environmental Waste Systems did not respond to the CBC's request for an interview, and has 30 days to respond to the complaint made to the Office of the Information and Privacy Commisioner. 

With files from the CBC's Brady Strachan