Can my employer place a camera with audio capabilities in a designated break area

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Can my employer place a camera with audio capabilities in a designated break area

We have a room at work that is just for
employees that has a fridge, microwave,
a table and chairs, sink, equipment
storage, and laundry area. This area is
used for laundry, equipment, private
calls, discipline by management and for
breaks. My manager has put a camera in
the room with audio capabilities that
she can watch and listen to from her
phone even when she is not at work. She
didn’t tell us. It was just there. I
feel it is there to listen to co workers
conversation and intimidation.

Asked on November 10, 2017 under Employment Labor Law, North Carolina

Answers:

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

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

There is a lesser expectation of privacy in the workplace. Accordingly, for security and safety purposes an employer can install video surveillance equipment but video recording cannot be conducted in changing rooms, bathrooms, break rooms and other similar "private" areas. However, employees should be notified of this. As for audio recording, in NC, at least 1 party to a conversation must consent to its recording for it to be legal. However, once notification is given that such recordings are being made and the parties continue to converse, then their consent is implied. Further, no consent is required if the conversation is taking place in a "public" area (restaurant, sidewalk, etc.). In the workplace this would include stairwells, lobbies, hallways, etc.


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