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Workplace Cameras: Rights, Privacy, and Law

Workplace Cameras: Rights, Privacy, and Law


Walk into almost any workplace and you will find video surveillance of customers and employees.  Many employers put the video cameras in place to capture theft, employee wrongdoing, and to deter crime.  The basic question that must be asked of employers is where do you draw the line on video surveillance?  Sure you have the right to video tape in your workplace, but you must keep the state laws in mind when making your decisions.

Rights of Employers

First off, know what your state says about video surveillance in the workplace.  There is a certain amount of workplace privacy that is upheld by the law in each state.  As an employer, it is your duty to determine where video surveillance is allowed and what video surveillance violates state law. 

Privacy laws are held sacred when it relates to customers and employees.  Your desire to record activities as an employer does not supersede all state and privacy laws.  Just because items are growing legs in the restroom does not allow you to put video in your restroom. 

So what are the rights of employers when it comes to video surveillance? To keep it simple and safe, lets begin with your parking lot.  Parking lots are common areas in the public and their is typically no right to expected privacy. 

If you have decided to record video on the inside of your business, you may want to consider placing a sign at your entrance informing all that your establishment is under surveillance.  Video cameras can normally be put in place to record incoming and outgoing traffic from your workplace.  

You may also want to record your office area because you and your personnel are dealing with monetary transactions daily.  This is probably an acceptable practice that is used by a number of employers.  Recording in common areas of your store, office, sales floor or your customer pickup area is most likely safe.  

If you are not certain where to draw the line on video surveillance, you can always contact your state labor department or an attorney.

Employee Privacy

Employee privacy must be a consideration when installing video.  I know you might be thinking that they work for you, however, their right to privacy must not be violated. 

Employees have a reasonable expectation of privacy.  You would not be able to legally justify recording in the restroom or locker room.  Even if your state does not prohibit video surveillance, any good attorney could find case law on the books that could find you in violation of privacy laws. 

When installing video, keep your employee privacy in mind along with the public.  If you have any doubt, contact an attorney to see what your state law says. 

State Laws and Video Surveillance

If you are the type who cares about the privacy and rights of all people, then you are the type who will always do the right thing. 

The state laws are put in place to protect the rights of individuals, employees, and even the employer. 

Video surveillance can have many benefits to the employer if used correctly.  Another problem that employers may encounter when recording video is not knowing how to properly release video or documentation.  Releasing video/documentation to the wrong individual or entity can land you and your company in hot water.

In another article I wrote: “When and How to Report Business Crimes” free guide.  I discuss what is required before releasing video and how to properly release video/documentation.    

That free guide can be obtained by clicking HERE.

Do you have any specific questions regarding this topic?  Please leave a comment below and I will be sure to respond to your question(s). 




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