Compliance » State Law And Video Surveillance Of The Workplace

State Law And Video Surveillance Of The Workplace

Close-up of a 360 degree installed camera with a long warehouse aisle out of focus in the background.

Employers cite many reasons for subjecting employees to video surveillance. Among them, says a post from the Bradley law firm, are insuring employee safety, improving customer service, and issues related to insurance. But companies who decide to go this route are advised to keep in mind that many state laws put limits on what, where, and how they can do it. Some states restrict where cameras can be placed, explicitly putting off-limits not only restrooms, but locker rooms, and in some cases areas “designated for the health or personal comfort of employees.” Some states define a specific “right to privacy,” others do not. Particular restrictions may apply to public employees, and if a workplace is unionized, employers may be bound by terms of an existing agreement, and if it is not unionized, labor law may specifically restrict surveillance of any scenario that includes discussion on the subject of unionizing.

Other issues addressed in this post include video capture, inadvertent or not, of off-duty activity, and the possible implication of state or federal wiretap laws. Generally speaking, the authors advise, it’s best to avoid picking up the audio in workplace surveillance. They also note that some states give employees the right, under some circumstances, to see information, including video footage, that’s in their personnel file.


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