Cameras at work and similar types of surveillance are generally legal, if they are there for a legitimate business concern. However, there may be legal limits on the places where cameras can be placed, as well as notification requirements and limits on the extent to which surveillance can occur. Employees should pay close attention to applicable company policies, any employee handbook(s) that may address monitoring in their workplace, and also look into their specific state's laws on this issue.
Legal Reasons And Methods
Pretty much, each state has its own laws to control the privacy issues surrounding cameras in the workplace. As a general rule, however, an employer needs to have a legitimate business purpose for implementing surveillance using cameras in any workplace spaces. Still, in our everyday lives there are countless circumstances where we encounter cameras in workplaces (whether they be our own workplace or those of others) including in grocery stores, retail establishments, banks, and countless more. In each of those examples, the reason for putting up cameras, which might include preventing theft and providing security, is almost undeniably legitimate and reasonable. However, in a regular office setting, it may be the best choice for an employer to establish a policy and then notify all employees of the existence of cameras and the reasons behind the move.
Audio Limitations On The Books
Furthermore, employers should be careful about conducting any audio recordings within the workplace because of the existence of state and federal wiretapping laws, which may apply in such circumstances regardless of how legitimate the reasons behind the video surveillance might be. As a result, if video cameras at work are also capturing sound, employers may run the risk of breaking applicable eavesdropping or wiretapping laws.
Varies From State To State, So Check First
Employee privacy rights are not completely surrendered when workers are on the job. In certain states, the law has established that an employer can violate their employees' privacy rights should they place cameras and similar surveillance in areas where employees would expect at least some measure of privacy. Some examples of workplace areas that may receive privacy protections in these states include restrooms, changing rooms, and break areas. States vary widely as to which specific areas of a workplace may be legitimately video recorded, and it is best to consult with a local employment or privacy attorney or your state's labor agency to find out exactly what you can and can’t do.