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WorkCover Surveillance – what is allowed and what is not?

WorkCover may decide to conduct secret surveillance of your activities to determine whether you are physically and or mentally limited to the extent that you claim. This may involve a private investigator using a video camera or still camera to capture images of you while you are going about your daily activities. Many injured workers ask us what Private Investigators are allowed to do and what they are not allowed to do.

What are WorkCover Private Investigators allowed to do?

Private investigators hired by WorkCover insurance companies, usually work for a Surveillance company. They are supposedly licensed under the Security Providers Act. In Victoria, they are licensed under the Private Security Act and the Private Security Regulations 2005

[box]However, these Private Investigators do not have any special rights. In fact, they have no more rights than those of an ordinary citizen![/box]

A private investigator is legally allowed to take photos or videos of you and your home unless:

  • they trespass on your land in order to do so, or
  • they are recording “private activities” – these include but are not limited to: undressing, using the bathroom/toilet, showering or bathing or intimate situations where you would reasonably expect privacy.

A private investigator is legally allowed to take a video of you going about your daily life inside or outside of your own home or at another private property. Beware that they will most often follow you to a medical appointment; IME appointments are a favourite because they know where you will be!

A private investigator is legally allowed to follow you when you leave your house and film you in public places.

What are WorkCover Private Investigators NOT allowed to do?

Private investigators are legally not allowed to:

  • trespass on your property
  • bug your phone
  • use a listening device to overhear, record or monitor a private conversation that they are not a party to;
  • access confidential government-held information
  • force entry to a premises
  • take video or photographs of you in a private place or doing a private act in circumstances where you would reasonably expect privacy.
  • seize your property
[box]If you believe that a private investigator is harassing you, acting unethically and/or is not abiding by the law, you can lodge a complaint with the Office of Fair Trading.[/box]

If a private investigator acquires video footage of you doing things that you told doctors you are unable to do, or that doctors have told you not to do (prescribed restrictions), you may come across as exaggerating your injuries and your claim – including benefits and potentially damages– may be jeopardised!


Security legislation and regulations (in all states)

The legislation is all the laws (Acts) enacted specifically to control and administer the private security industry. Regulations are the way that the legislation is applied.

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