Is it legal for my employer to video and audio tape me while working?

I have noticed that there is a video camcorder feed on my computer that has never
been there before. I am noticing other employees mimicked my action that I had
just done in the presence of no one else. Also this computer that now says this
does not say this at the beginning of my shift but after the person I relieve
leaves then the person that relieves me turns that computer off after I am out of
my seat. Is this criminal in nature or civil in nature.

Asked on March 9, 2016 under Employment Labor Law, Indiana


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

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

 Generally speaking, videotaping employees in the workplace is deemed to be acceptable so long as it is it's limited to job performance and related work activities. So, for example, an employer may videotape to prevent wrongful work behavior such as theft. That having been said, an employer may have violated their employees' rights to privacy if they videotaped them in areas considered private and personal. These areas would include locker rooms, bathrooms and, in some states, break rooms. Additionally, employers must notify all employees in writing that video surveillance is being conducted, as well as letting them know where it is being used. Further, employers must state the areas that are off limits from such surveillance.
As for recording employees, since there is no “expectation of privacy” in public such as a lobby, stairwell, conference room or office with the door open, recording conversations in a public area is legal. Otherwise, recording employees without their permission is illegal unless the person recording is also a party to the conversation (in some states all parties must consent to the recording). 
To be certain of your rights under specific state law, you can contact your state's department of labor and/or consult directly with an employment law attorney in your area, they can best advise you further.

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