Planning for a Business Security Camera System Know the Law

A business security camera system is an excellent way to protect your assets, property, and employees. However, installing a security or surveillance system is more than just plugging in a few wires. It requires some knowledge of the law. So before you buy a primo security camera system, make sure you know the ins and outs of surveillance law and how it pertains to your business.

Reasonable Expectation of Privacy

Loosely based on the Fourth Amendment of the United States Constitution, a reasonable expectation of privacy is a legal tenet that protects citizens from excessive surveillance. In the workplace, cameras out in the open or in plain sight pass the reasonable expectation of privacy test. However, other locations may be illegal due to this doctrine. In general, you can’t place a business security camera in these places:
Dressing room
Locker room
Bedroom
Shower area
Bathroom
While some of these will only apply to certain types of businesses, business owners should still understand their boundaries to avoid any litigation or potential issues.

Workplace Privacy Laws

One of the more difficult aspects to understand about business security deals with workplace privacy laws. These are often difficult to grasp because they vary from state to state and may even change between counties, cities, or municipalities.

As far as cybersecurity and security camera systems, workplace privacy laws dictate that employers can’t monitor employees’ personal phone calls and emails without consent. The same goes for security cameras, meaning that hidden cameras may trigger lawsuits if the employee isn’t notified.

For further information on workplace privacy laws, check with the state’s employment office or the Electronics Communications Privacy Act where your business is located. We have served the Texas business and industrial sector for over 26 years. Let us know what your plan is for the new year, and we’re happy to help.

Are Hidden Cameras Legal?

While no federal law exists prohibiting hidden cameras in the workplace, each state has their own law regarding such surveillance. As mentioned above, you may have to notify the employee. But then again, that wouldn’t exactly be a hidden camera. If you find that your state law doesn’t necessarily prohibit hidden cameras, you may still want to consult with an attorney to make sure.

However, cameras in plain sight are legal for businesses, provided the business has a legitimate reason to do so. Therefore, installing cameras where monetary transactions take place or where you may store or receive goods is perfectly fine. Not only will these serve as a deterrent against property damage, customer theft, and employee theft, but you also have evidence should you need it.

Is It Legal to Record Audio?

According to the Federal Wiretap Act, recording audio on a business security system is illegal, regardless of the purpose, unless each party gives their consent. In addition, each state has its own audio recording laws. If you decide to record audio for any reason (or perhaps you’ve received the legal right to do so), you cannot disclose any information acquired by the audio surveillance.

A legal gray area exists if you use the audio in a private conversation with the employee to discipline or terminate them, provided that you don’t tell anyone else about the information contained in the recording.

As with other legal statutes and laws, make certain to consult with a lawyer, even if you’ve done your due diligence. Doing so will keep your business safe while also protecting you from any legal recourse. Contact us for a complete proposal for all your business security and surveillance needs anywhere in Texas.

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