PDA

View Full Version : California laws regarding videotaping in public areas in business


stressbusters
07-25-2007, 10:27 AM
Hi.

We are going to be installing videocameras in our public areas in our business. Other than being able to put them where there is not a reasonable expectation for privacy as in the private rooms or of course restrooms/staff lounge, are there any other things I need to know? The camera is pretty much so tiny, one wouldn't really see it unless they know security systems. A small sign up very high that videtaping is going on enough?

ElleMD
07-25-2007, 10:30 AM
Is this straight video or will they record sound as well?

ScottB
07-25-2007, 03:01 PM
Elle's comment is dead on.

Videotaping with no sound is not illegal under any law I know of, so long as it is in a public area.

Recording sound could be a problem, depending upon the state.

stressbusters
07-27-2007, 07:44 AM
Could we install with voice recording? We could post video taping in progress signs...Also, can we videotape in the staff lunchroom? (with or without sound) Is a lunch/breakroom considered public or private?

DAW
07-27-2007, 10:15 AM
California Penal Code section 632(a):

Every person who, intentionally and without the consent of all parties to a confidential communication, by means of any electronic amplifying or recording device, eavesdrops upon or records the confidential communication, whether the communication is carried on among the parties in the presence of one another or by means of a telegraph, telephone or other device, except a radio, shall be punished .

Pattymd
07-27-2007, 10:28 AM
California Penal Code section 632(a):

Every person who, intentionally and without the consent of all parties to a confidential communication, by means of any electronic amplifying or recording device, eavesdrops upon or records the confidential communication, whether the communication is carried on among the parties in the presence of one another or by means of a telegraph, telephone or other device, except a radio, shall be punished .

"shall be punished" :eek:

ScottB
07-27-2007, 11:03 AM
"shall be punished" :eek:

Yep, they have to go work for your last employer.

Cruel and unusual, I am sure and the ACLU will try to get the sentence tossed out.;)

Pattymd
07-27-2007, 11:35 AM
Yep, they have to go work for your last employer.

Cruel and unusual, I am sure and the ACLU will try to get the sentence tossed out.;)

Would definitely be so. :D :p

Betty3
07-27-2007, 02:37 PM
Ca. No person other than an authorized law enforcement officer may wiretap or eavesdrop on confidential communications. That provision effectively prohibts employers from engaging in electronic eavesdropping on employee telephone conversations or other confidential conversations. An employer should provide employees with advance notice if it intends to monitor employee calls. The employees should also instruct whoever they contact, at the outset of the conversation, that the call may be monitored for purposes of quality control only and that any information given will remain confidential.
No private or public employer may cause an audio or video recording to be made of an employee in a restroom, locker room, or other room designed by the employer for changing clothes unless authorized by a court order. No recording made in violation of the law may be used by the employer for any purpose. The ban doesn't apply to the federal government.
Audio recording consent: All-party consent is required.
Covered employers: All employers
Wiretapping or eaves-dropping: Cal. Penal Code 631, 632 through 632.7 and 636
Video and/or audio recordings: Cal. Lab. Code 435(a)

BSPCPA
07-28-2007, 12:53 PM
stressbusters: We are going to be installing videocameras in our public areas in our business. Other than being able to put them where there is not a reasonable expectation for privacy as in the private rooms or of course restrooms/staff lounge, are there any other things I need to know?

DAW: Every person who, intentionally and without the consent of all parties to a confidential communication, by means of any electronic amplifying or recording device, eavesdrops upon or records the confidential communication, whether the communication is carried on among the parties in the presence of one another or by means of a telegraph, telephone or other device, except a radio, shall be punished.

Betty3: No person other than an authorized law enforcement officer may wiretap or eavesdrop on confidential communications

Just so we are all clear, the term "confidential communication" statutorily excludes communication made in a public gatherings and situations where the parties to the communication may reasonably expect that the communication may be overheard or recorded. Penal Code 632(c)

Employers certainly have the right to videoptape employees in public areas of their business, as various courts have held that employees enjoy no expectation of privacy in the workplace from employers. From an employee standpoint, however, you should make your videotaping policy clear (e.g., in employee handbooks). You should also review your proposed practice in depth with an attorney in your local area.

stressbusters
07-28-2007, 02:34 PM
You all are so very helpfully informative, thank you so much for your time and input!

If I understand not only from what I have read here but also in searching laws in California, an employeer can install video in all areas except those that are those that employees would expect privacy...dressing rooms, restrooms, etc. No sound recording.

I also don't find anything that states in California law that one must warn or advise employees that videotaping is going on...as someone mentioned above in the employee handbook. Nor have I found a case that has been judged illegal use of videotaping if it were not announced to the staff and yet used in court. (of course in public places). Still I am not certain if the lunchroom can be videotaped and I can't seem to find that answer...We could put up a 1" high notice that "videotaping in progress" if that would be good to do.

I appreciate all of your help.:)

stressbusters
07-28-2007, 02:39 PM
Re: evesdropping.

Is it illegal for an employee to evesdrop on an employeer having a confidential conversation in an office by standing right next to the door outside?

ScottB
07-28-2007, 02:46 PM
I also don't find anything that states in California law that one must warn or advise employees that videotaping is going on...as someone mentioned above in the employee handbook.

I know of one case (unionized) that put in videocameras in an area management suspected the employees were using for unauthorized breaks (sleeping). The company lost the case as it violated the terms of the CBA.

In other situations (non-union), you could put up the cameras without notification, but why do so?

You lose nothing and could gain by preventing some needless litigation. Even if the plaintiffs will lose in the end, it costs the company to defend itself.

If there are problems in some areas and simply putting in the cameras AND announcing that they are there stops the problems, everyone is happy. Problems are stopped, employees don't lose their jobs...no one loses.

stressbusters
07-29-2007, 08:17 AM
Thanks Scott, why not notify them upfront to deter problems.

My question has gone unanswered about information that was obtained by the employee evesdropping on the other side of a door where management was having a person discussion. Employee is trying to use that information again us. Are we protected by the penal code against videotaping and evesdropping?

cbg
07-29-2007, 08:56 AM
stressbusters, in the PM's you and I have exchanged you have indicated that you have a lawyer. I strongly recommend that you depend on him for the answers to your questions about your defense.

ScottB
07-29-2007, 10:34 AM
My question has gone unanswered about information that was obtained by the employee evesdropping on the other side of a door where management was having a person discussion. Employee is trying to use that information again us. Are we protected by the penal code against videotaping and evesdropping?

I suspect not, unless the person that overheard the private conversation used technology to record it.

Maybe California has a specific definition for "eavesdropping" that would include a person standing outside a door listening to what was being said inside. I really doubt that is the case. Such a law would open up a Pandora's Box.

California Labor Law Posters
Comply with California regulations with one Complete California Labor Law Poster.
Trusted with customer satisfication.
Call (800) 745-9970 or shop online at www.LaborLawCenter.com.