You can use CCTV to monitor staff only if you notify employees they are being monitored. This applies to a general workspace, which can include retail, office work, warehouses, and other businesses.
If you use CCTV, follow these 3 critical areas of the law before installing your surveillance monitoring cameras:
- Your monitoring must not damage or destroy the trust between you and your employee
- You must tell your employees they are being monitored and allow them to give you their permission to be monitored (via written consent)
- Let your employees know why you are introducing CCTV into the workplace
Some common lawful reasons that employers allow CCTV in the workplace include protection against theft and damage. Other reasons may include monitoring productivity, ensuring that health and safety regulations are being followed, and guaranteeing that financial services are complying with regulatory requirements.
When Is It Illegal To Use CCTV to Monitor Staff?
You may come under legal scrutiny if you install cameras which are considered a violation of your privacy (according to your state’s laws). For instance, the Texas Workforce Commission states that videotaping any areas where workers “may be undressed on a regular basis” is forbidden. Also, if any unauthorized personnel watch the surveillance footage, you may be subject to defamation and/or invasion of privacy lawsuits. But even that could be subject to legal opinion, as stated in an article by Lewis Maltby for the American Bar Association.
Any meeting between a labor union is also expressly prohibited from monitoring. This is thanks to the National Labor Relations Act of 1935, which states:
“[Employers] may not respond to a union organizing drive by threatening, interrogating, or spying on pro-union employees…” (Source: NLRB.gov
To avoid legal implications, it is highly recommended to train fellow staff who will be monitoring CCTV. That way, you can guarantee complete legal compliance without risking a lawsuit.
Is Secret CCTV Filming Allowed At All?
Any secret CCTV monitoring should be forbidden unless you are recording in an incredibly exceptional circumstance. If you think employees are in jeopardy due to possible physical injury, abuse, or any other serious crime, it may be allowed.
Even then, make sure to keep thorough documentation of your decision making leading up to surveillance. Consult with the leadership staff of your workplace and, if possible, consult with your state’s workforce commission. That way, you can be held responsibly accountable and can demonstrate you are looking out for your employee’s best interest.
Ready to Install CCTV?
Get a free consultation with the TC Tech Systems team. We can walk you through the installation process, plan out the best positioning for your business needs, and more. Contact our team now to get started.