Are Your Security and Surveillance Policies Violating Privacy Laws?
Companies have the right to protect against internal theft or property destruction. They also have a responsibility to evaluate productivity and ensure their resources are used efficiently and effectively. If a company faces litigation, gathering evidence becomes a priority. As a means of gathering information, companies often use surveillance systems, whether gathering information related to production, theft, property damage, or for litigation purposes.
Types of Surveillance
Installing cameras for video surveillance is one approach to surveillance. Putting GPS tracking on company vehicles is another form. Monitoring software is also available to install in company computers and cell phones.
What Types of Legal Precautions Should You Take?
According to Business News Daily, employers should post signage, which states that the premises are monitored by security cameras.
For computer monitoring, when the employee uses a company device, there are virtually no ramifications for installing monitoring software to monitor what employees are doing at work. Employers have the right to know whether the employee is working on tasks related to the job and what tasks are getting done. It is better for employers to require that employees use the business’s computers because they would not have the same right to install monitoring software on a device the employee owns.
Where employers can run into trouble is when they acquire too much information of a private nature. Finding out an employee’s medical information would violate HIPPA or could lead to a lawsuit that claimed violation of the Genetic Information Act.
Spying on employees who are exercising their right to discuss unionizing, collective bargaining, wages or work conditions is an unfair labor practice and should not be done.
GPS tracking on company vehicles is legal because the vehicle is company property and employers have the right to know where their property is. However, GPS tracking on laptops and phones may cross a legal line by gathering information about employees’ activities when they are not working, which violates their privacy rights.
It is wise to consult with an employment lawyer to make sure that your surveillance policies do not put your business at risk.
Stephen Hans & Associates http://hansassociates.com/ provides extensive legal experience to business owners regarding employment related issues.