Do I have any rights if my employer wants to install a camera on my computer at home?

I have been working from home on a company provided computer for almost 9 years. My new boss wants to install a camera on it so he can Skype. I have never had a problem communicating with the home office. Is it legal for him to force me to install the camera in my home office under the guise of needing it to communicate with me?

Asked on September 1, 2015 under Employment Labor Law, Pennsylvania

Answers:

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

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

Yes, is it legal require that an employee install a camera in their home office in order for their employer to communicate with them. The fact is that in an "at will" employment arrangement, a company can set the terms and conditions of employment much as it sees fit or deems neceassary. And if an employee fails to comply with such a request, they can be terminated (in fact they can be terminated for this reason, any reason or no reason at all). So unless this action violates company policy or the terms of a union contract or employment agreement, it is legal. Also, such a mandate cannot constiute any form of actionable discrimination. Otherwise, this requirement is perfectly permissable under the law.   

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

Yes, it is perfectly legal to require an employee to have a camera on his/her computer in order to Skype or videoconference an employer can make the capacity to Skype, etc. part of the job, and fire an employee for not doing so. Furthermore, you write that this is a company-provided computer if so, it belongs to the employer, and they can put a camera on it or make any other modications to it that they choose.


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