Is it illegal to place a micro-camera and microphone in a room without notifying employees?

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Is it illegal to place a micro-camera and microphone in a room without notifying employees?

The company I work at told me that they would be putting a visible camera in the room just to check and make sure that the product being made is correct. However, what I just found out was that they had already placed a micro-camera along with a microphone in the room without telling me. Is this illegal and violate my right to privacy?

Asked on September 22, 2010 under Employment Labor Law, Minnesota

Answers:

M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

The right to the Fourth Amendment Right to Privacy boils down to the question of what is known as an "expectation" of privacy.  One has an expectation of privacy in one's home.  Workplace privacy, however, is different.  There is an expectation of privacy in a bathroom for obvious reasons but in a common work area - where it seems that products are being assembled - may or may not violate rights based upon the specific facts surrounding the area in question and the type of surveillance cameras used.  In other words, if the cameras are just in YOUR workplace then there would be a problem.  And I could see the issue of the microphone as a First Amendment issue free speech issue as well.  The idea that the camera was hidden until now is also irksome.  I would consult with an attorney in your area on the matter.  Good luck.


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