What is the law regarding the legal ramifications of using a hidden camera or voice recorder at work?

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What is the law regarding the legal ramifications of using a hidden camera or voice recorder at work?

What are the current NYS laws (if any) and/or legal ramifications of using a hidden camera or voice recorder at work to provide proof of scientific misconduct? Especially when it is likely that they will not take the claim and/or concern seriously without such proof.

Asked on September 21, 2011 under Employment Labor Law, New York

Answers:

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

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

Typically, there is no consent required to videotape a person at least so long as there is no "expectation of privacy", such as one would have in a dressing room, restroom, lockeroom, etc. In fact employers secretly videotape all of the time (although there can be certain restrictions placed on this). Therefore, videorecording at work should present no problem in general, although your employer may not be too pleased.

However, recording the spoken word is treated differently. NY is known as a "1-party consent" state. Accordingly, it is a crime to record or eavesdrop on an in-person or telephone conversation unless one party to the conversation consents (N.Y. Penal Law §§ 250.00, 250.05). In other words, you may record a conversation or phone call if you are a party to the conversation or you get permission from one party to the conversation in advance.


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