Many employers use cameras in the workplace to hinder on-the-job theft and for other security measures. Most of the time, employees are not aware of these cameras so as not to defeat the purpose. But has an employer violated your rights by doing this?
Legally, it is permissible as long as employees are notified. But there are times where it is not. While state laws limit how and where these cameras are used, and how employees may be monitored, all businesses must have a legitimate reason to monitor its employees with cameras.
It is a federal law that wiretapping may not be used to record audio, which is why closed- caption video does not include any sound.
The state privacy laws that govern recording employees and customers do have limits. For instance, an employer may not spy on you in a restroom, a break room, or any other area where there is a reasonable expectation of privacy.
It is common for banks, restaurants and others that do business with the public to use video surveillance in areas where security and theft prevention is important. It is fair to say that employees who work in a jewelry store have no expectation of privacy, while those working in a cubicle expect a certain level of privacy.
Regardless of the reason for use, employers must let their employees know that the cameras are being used.
Another area where there are stricter regulations regarding the use of video is where union employees are involved. The National Labor Relations Act prohibits use of video to record employers’ union activities.
Employers may use video surveillance for a host of reasons, but they must do so lawfully.
If you have questions about about the laws in your state, please consult an employment lawyer. You may use our Online Legal Directory to find an attorney in your area.