Can an employer put audio and video in their place of business?

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Can an employer put audio and video in their place of business?

I have an employee who verbally assaulted me at my dealership when I was not there. I was at my house on my computer monitoring the office when this took place. I have an audio feed in the office that she was in. This is only a live audio feed, it is not recorded and cannot be played back. She went through the tiles in the ceiling and found the feed. She said that she did not know that the feed was there and this is a violation of her rights. I recently put the feed in that office because the location it was in prior was having feedback problems. She does know there are cameras and audio in the office.

Asked on March 7, 2011 under Employment Labor Law, Virginia

Answers:

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

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

As a general rule, it is is perfectly legal for an employer to have video/audio surveillance in the workplace. Typically no employee consent is required.  Essentially, there is no constitutional right to privacy if there is no "expectation of privacy".  For instance, while an individual has an expectation of privacy in their own home, courts have held that they (as an employee) can have no such expectation in the workplace.  Consequently, employers have the right to install surveillance systems throughout the workplace.  The only places that such systems are prohibited is in the bathroom/dressing room.  Other than these areas, an employer is generally permitted to oversee and record any inside the office/common areas. 

However, these laws vary from-state-to-state; especially with reagrd to audio surveillance.  The best thing for you to do right now is to contact an employment law attorney in your area. For an hour or so of their time, you can go over the details of your case.  They can then advise you accordingly. 


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