Can my employer install a camera in my office that is also a living space?

It is an apartment office that requires staff to sleep and stay there around the clock. We have cameras outside the apartment in the hallways, however, recently a camera was installed inside the apartment.

Asked on May 21, 2016 under Employment Labor Law, Pennsylvania


M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

Videotaping employees in the workplace is legally permitted so long as it is limited to their work activities/job performance. Consequently, an employer may videotape employees to prevent vertain behavior (i.e. employee theft or too much socializing with co-workers). However, employers must provide notice to all employees that video surveillance is being conducted and where it is being used, as well as state the areas that are off limits from surveillance.
However, videotaping may violate employees' rights to privacy if they are taped in areas considered private and personal (i.e. bathrooms, locker rooms, etc.). In your case, since the apartment is an extention of the workplace, videotaping in designated work areas, including the kithchen, would be permitted but would not be allowed in other areas such as the bedrooms and bathroom.

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

No, they cannot install a camera is a location where you are required to sleep (e.g. in a separate bedroom), or where you reasonably would change clothing (or, of course, in a bathroom area). They may install cameras in other areas of the space, such as if there is a dedicated work area, or in a kitchen, as long as the cameras are obvious and/or you are told about them. It's only in areas where you might be undressed or conduct bodily functions that cannot be videoed.

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