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TURNING EMPLOYER WRONGS INTO EMPLOYEE RIGHTS

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Can My employer film me without permission?

The California Constitution, Article One, Section One, assures all residents of California a basic right of privacy. How that may be compromised in the workplace has been the subject of much conversation. Hidden cameras, for example, may not record bathrooms or changing rooms. What about cameras in public areas?

In Hernandez v. Hillsides, Inc., S147522,  a residential facility for abused children, the allegation was made that the company installed a hidden video camera in an office from which it believed someone was accessing pornographic websites after hours.  Two clerical employees worked in the office during the day, but were never told about the camera nor did they consent to its use.  After discovering the camera, they sued Hillsides for invasion of privacy- a common law tort requiring them to prove an intrusion into some private place, conversation or matter, and in a manner that a reasonable person would find highly offensive.  The California Supreme Court will soon decide whether an employer may have invaded the right to privacy of two of its employees when it installed a hidden camera in their office without their knowledge or consent.