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What are the legal guidelines to use video surveillance in a workplace?
Posted : Saturday, November 26, 2011 1:54:03 AM(UTC)
Joined: 11/18/2011(UTC)
Posts: 1
Location: United States

My colleagues and I may be interested in buying this software to monitor our offices (in a hospital), because someone has been stealing things from us occasionally after-hours during the night or weekends.

However, I have been told that it could be illegal to record videos or still images of people, even if they are not supposed to be in our office area, and are clearly up to no good. Whether or not this is legal may also depend on the state (my job is in Massachusetts).

My co-workers and I have asked our employer if we can put a sign on the wall that says, "Video surveillance in use", but so far, they have not told us if we can put up such a sign and/or use a webcam to try to record the thief.

Do you have any information that would indicate whether or not it is legal for us to do this in Massachusetts? Seems strange that the thief may have more rights than we do. Thanks.
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Posted : Monday, November 28, 2011 10:42:05 PM(UTC)
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Using WebCam Monitor in a work environment is legally allowed. Hidden cameras are also allowed when they only record video. A notification on the wall is not required unless you are recording audio. Audio recording in a workplace requires notifications according to Federal or State wiretap guidelines.

The exception to video surveillance is where an expectation of privacy is implied - meaning a locker room, bathroom, lounge, break room, etc. Most of the laws were created regarding employers monitoring workplace employees - monitoring for theft is more permissive. Please note that this information is from general Federal guidelines. I don't know of any specific Massachusetts laws prohibiting the recording you are looking to do to catch the thief.
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