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February 05, 2019

Is It Legal to Have Security Cameras in the Office - Everything You Need to Know About Workplace Surveillance Laws

Business owners, and organizations around the world, increasingly utilize video surveillance to help protect their assets and employees. As technology advances, video security will become more prevalent in the modern workplace. For an organization looking to implement video security, or is currently using security cameras, understanding the basic surveillance laws is critical to help protect you and your employees.

In this article, we’ll discuss the following key points:

• Office/workplace surveillance laws in the US

• Legal and common use-cases for video surveillance

• Illegal use-cases for video surveillance

• The best security camera to use for your office or workplace

Office/workplace surveillance laws in the US

Using video surveillance in the workplace is completely legal according to US Law. However, an organization must have legitimate reasons for wanting to use security cameras.

Employees demand and expect basic levels of privacy, so it is imperative for an organization to be mindful about not invading this privacy when using video surveillance.

When using security cameras in a public area, your employees must know that the cameras are there. If an organization uses hidden cameras, or the cameras are installed in private areas – such as bathrooms, lockers, and break rooms – then this will be deemed illegal and may carry legal ramifications.

The laws around security cameras that record audio can vary from state to state due to federal wiretapping laws. In thirty-eight states, it is legal to record audio if one party knows that they are being recorded. For the remaining twelve states, both parties must give consent to be recorded. For all 50 states, if both parties do not give their consent, or do not know that they are being recorded, then it is illegal to record audio.

If you want to learn more about state surveillance laws, check out this blog post.

Legal and common use-cases for video surveillance

Employee Accountability

In most states, it is allowed to use security cameras if an organization believes its employees are engaging in unlawful behavior (drinking, illicit drugs, engaging in dangerous or reckless behavior) while on the clock.

Internal Theft

If an organization is having an issue with company theft, or employees that are engaging in dishonest behavior, then the use of security cameras are lawful so long as your state deems it legal to do so.

External Theft

If an organization has had issues with customers stealing in the past, then the use of video security is legal. Using video security can help prevent external theft from reoccurring.

Physical Safety and Employee Wellbeing

If an organization has been broken into or has had problems with disruptive or unwanted people entering their space, using video surveillance to ensure better physical security is legal in most states.

Illegal use-cases for video surveillance

Restrooms

Using security cameras in restrooms is prohibited as it infringes on employee privacy rights.

Locker Rooms

Using security cameras in locker rooms falls under the same reasoning as the previously stated point. Cameras cannot be used to record people changing clothes.

Employee Lounges

In some states, employee lounges or break rooms cannot be recorded since employees go to these places to find rest, comfort, and privacy.

The best security camera to use for your office or workplace

rhombus-office-security-camera-video-surveillance-system

If you want an easy-to-use and lightweight video surveillance system, you should definitely check out the Rhombus R1. To get started, just plug the camera to an ethernet cable and begin capturing HD video footage.

Servers, hard drives, or difficult installations are not required – making adding or moving cameras around effortless. The end-user experience is incredibly simple and straightforward – you can search through footage, set custom alerts, save and share video clips, and get access to innovative features like facial recognition, fall detection, people counting, and unusual behavior detection.

Closing

Using security cameras in your office is completely legal as long as you have a valid reason and it does not violate your state's employee privacy laws. If you are unsure about the legality of your use-case, it’s best to consult a legal representative or reach out to your State Labor Agency.

If you have any questions about this blog post or the Rhombus R1, please don’t hesitate to reach out at sales@rhombussystems.com.

Best,

Jordan