Are CCTV cameras illegal in the workplace?

Jul 26, 2018

Know the law

Before setting up any type of monitoring, however, it is important that you check the laws in your state as well as know the Federal laws. Even if your state allows electronic monitoring, there are likely restrictions on where cameras can be placed (bathrooms or dressing rooms are generally a no-no), as well as requirements on how you must notify your employees or customers about the monitoring in place and how the information captured will be used. And while video monitoring may be legal, there are potentially different rules for audio recordings because of state and federal wiretapping laws.
Since state and federal laws regarding electronic monitoring, wiretapping and eavesdropping laws are constantly changing to adapt to new technology and new situations, we highly recommend you contact a lawyer for specifics on what is allowed at your workplace.

How common are CCTV cameras in the workplace?

CCTV cameras in the workplace are quite common. While recent statistics are hard to come by, a 2007 survey by the American Management Association showed at least half of employers used video monitoring to counter theft, violence and sabotage in their business. Since today’s video cameras are smaller, easier to install and more cost-effective, one can only surmise that the number is significantly higher than that.
Most people, polls show, also are supportive of video surveillance cameras, particularly in public places, for protection and security.

Choosing the right CCTV system

When it comes to designing and installing a surveillance system, you are going to have a lot of options. Here are some of the most important things you need to consider:

  1. What is the main purpose of installing the cameras? Is it to prevent intruders from entering the property or is it to keep an eye on employees behind the cash register? Defining what you want the system to do is step one.
  2. What areas are going to be most important to monitor to accomplish your goals? Where to install the cameras and then choosing the right cameras for the location are both important decisions. Are the cameras in an area that they can’t be tampered with? Is there enough light to get a clear recording? Do you need to monitor at night?
  3. How do you want your monitoring to work? Will someone be monitoring a feed from the cameras 24/7? Do you need to add alarms to notify authorities or a security company? Do you want to be able to watch a live feed via your smartphone?

Alerting your employees

As we said earlier, most states have legal requirements about how and when employees and customers should be notified about CCTV systems, as well as getting their written consent, so make sure you check with your lawyer.
Practically speaking, however, you want your employees to understand why you are installing a CCTV system, what the footage will be used for and who will be reviewing it. You don’t want to destroy a feeling of trust between you and your employees or have them feel as if they have done something wrong. It’s generally only in more exceptional situations that a hidden or secret CCTV system may need to be installed. If this is the case, it’s more important than ever that you check with the proper authorities in your area.
If you want to learn more about the components of a CCTV system, check out our blog on Will CCTV Work Without Internet?

If you would like a survey of your home security system or want to know what a system can do you for you, contact us today to schedule your free evaluation!

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