Pursuant to the Judgement dated February 11th, 2013, The Constitutional Court granted the protection requested by a university professor which was sanctioned because of his failure to comply with his working hours, using as evidence recordings from surveillance videocameras, without being informed that those recordings had the purpose of monitoring his compliance of his working hours. Accordingly the Court annulled the disciplinary sanction and the contested judgments.
The judgment essentially analyzes the requirements that would have been necessary to make valid the control of the compliance of his employment contract by the professor by means of recording obtained by surveillance videocameras. Thus, by complying with such requirements, it would have not been a violation of the fundamental right set out in Section 18.4 of the Spanish Constitution, this is, the right to the protection of personal data.
Firstly, the Court examines whether the recordings made by the surveillance videocameras must be considered as a personal data protected by the mentioned Section 18.4. In this sense, the Court states that recorded images of persons are considered as personal data covered by Section 18.4, given that the right to the protection of personal data includes all information that identifies or may identify a person, thus stating, that the recording of a person shall be considered a personal data processing.
The Tribunal then analyzes the fact that recordings of the image (which is a personal data) of the professor were obtained through surveillance cameras placed in the University building where he worked at, which, as alleged by the University, were installed as a safety measure for monitoring such an open and public place. Notwithstanding the foregoing, in this case images were used by the University to check if the professor complied with his working hours.
In this case, the University as data controller of the personal data of the professor, and more specifically of the recordings of his image accessing the College, should have complied with the duty of informing him previously and in a specific, precise, clear and unequivocal way about the purpose of the collection of his image, which was monitoring his compliance of his working hours, all in accordance with Section 5.1.a) of the Organic Law Spanish Data 15/1999 on Data Protection. In that sense the information should have specify when recordings could be examined, for how long and for what purposes, detailing that they could be used to monitor the fulfillment of his labor obligations, and in case of a breach of his employment contract, to impose sanctions.
Therefore, the Court states that the omission of the aforementioned information infringes the right to the protection of personal data stated in Section 18.4 of the Spanish Constitution, thus, the Court declared null the sanctions imposed on the professor on the basis only of the recordings, given that the aforementioned proof infringes, as we have said, the fundamental right to the protection of his personal data, which according to the Court pursues to ensure each person to know at all times who has his/her personal data and the purpose of the processing of those.