Video surveillance laws vary from country to country and state to state. There are no Federal laws that prohibit video surveillance systems in the work area. But, many states do not prohibit either. Most people readily accept video surveillance at the workplace because it’s proven to reduce crime. They are generally in favor of it in parking garages, elevators, tunnels, stairways because these places are somewhat hidden where crimes may be likely. The surveillance video is often undeniable evidence to prove guilt in a court of law.
In some states like California, Rhode Island, and New York video cameras are prohibited in locker rooms, bathrooms, and other places where people expect complete privacy. Therefore, if you want to install CCTV cameras in your workplace, it is important for you to know the legal ramifications regarding video surveillance in your state. So read this article ahead to be informed of video surveillance laws in brief.
To begin the video security system, having a thorough knowledge of laws regarding privacy is a mandate. In some states, if an employer put cameras and fails to notify employees about video surveillance, then they are leaving themselves open to legal action for violating privacy laws. And it is very important that the employer does not misuse any data that has been collected. If employees feel that their privacy rights have been violated, they can seek legal advice from the state department of labour or a licensed employment attorney.
To record audio also employers are required to inform employees. The recording of oral communication is always prohibited by federal wiretapping laws regardless of having a legitimate reason for recordings.
Protected Concerted Activity
When employees are participating in “union organization events” and “solidarity marches” hosted by union organizations, it is best not to conduct any surveillance in order to remain in accordance with the federal law. Employees get right to “protected concerted activity” when engaging in union activities. They are lawfully free of video surveillance in such events.
Legitimate Business Purpose/Reason
For employers to use CCTV cameras in the workplace, they are required to show a legitimate reason for doing so. State video surveillance laws determine what is legitimate, so it is wise to be informed about your state’s specific allowances and limitations. Making your employees aware of the video surveillance ahead by including information of it in the employee handbook helps you direct employees to your company’s policies. Some states even require informed consent who is involved in the “taping”!
In public places, it is mandatory to have video surveillance systems, especially where monetary transactions take place, or where goods are kept on shelves. In less public workplaces also employers admit that they want some level of video surveillance in order to increase productivity, discourage bad behavior such as sexual harassment and dissuade from distractions such as social network or internet browsing on company computers and phones. On the whole, employers should aware of law and legislation before deciding where and how to monitor.
Consult a Professional
The area of video surveillance laws can be complicated and the legislature varies from state to state. If you want to make video surveillance setup and have questions, definitely consult with a local lawyer before taking any action. They clearly explain, clarify your doubts and define surveillance rights.