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Patrick, Esq.
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Category: California Employment Law
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Is it legal for an employer to videotape an employee at the

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Is it legal for an employer to videotape an employee at the employee's home?
Good evening and thank you for entrusting me to answer your question. I will do everything I can to assist you.

Can you provide a little bit more detail and the circumstances surrounding the videotaping? Why is it being done? Where exactly are the cameras and why would the employer have any interest in obtaining such footage?

I very much look forward to helping you on this matter.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

My employer Fresno County Probation are taping me exitting my house and driving to work to verify my arrival times? The cameras are hidden with its operator across my strreet taping me. Also does this violate POBR since it appears that an investigation of sorts is taking place?


Thank you for your reply. I can certainly understand why you would find this to be upsetting and I'm quite sorry to hear your employer is subjecting you to this.

Unfortunately, the POBR would not apply because it pertains only to the rights officers enjoy prior to and during interrogations on alleged wrongdoing. The POBR does not pertain to or in any way restrict an agency's ability to use other investigative methods, such as surveillance, to determine whether violations of agency policy have occurred.

Generally speaking, the law permits employers to videotape employees unless the videotaping infringes upon the employee's reasonable expectation of privacy pursuant to the 4th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution and state law. According to the courts, employees have a reasonable expectation of privacy in company bathrooms, locker rooms, and in certain instances their private offices. An employee surely has an expectation of privacy with regard to the interior of their home, as well.

However, if your employer is only video taping you from the outside of your home, it becomes harder to argue that such footage violates your reasonable expectation of privacy because people generally do not have an expectation of privacy when they are outside and in public.

What I would argue if I were in your shoes, however, is that such footage is still unreasonably intrusive and constitutes a violation of your 4th Amendment rights because it is completely unnecessary to monitor you leaving your personal residence in order to determine whether you are arriving at your place of work on time.

It would be much more reasonable and likely practical for them to implement other "clocking in" verification procedures, such as cameras at your ARRIVAL point, GPS on a company vehicle, timecards you have to punch in-person, or something similar. Thus, in the context of available alternative options, such surveillance is unreasonably intrusive.

Furthermore, you can argue that the video surveillance is capturing footage through your windows of the interior of your home, and that also constitutes an unlawful invasion of privacy.

Are these strong arguments? To be entirely candid, I'm not sure they are, as the fact remains that footage obtained in public areas generally does not constitute an unlawful invasion of privacy. However, perhaps a sternly worded letter setting forth the arguments I have described above would be enough to get your employer to halt this practice so you don't have to worry about being filmed when you leave your home. I think it likely would.

Again, I'm so sorry you are being subjected to this, and I truly hope you find the information I have provided to be helpful. Please do not hesitate to contact me if you have further questions or anything about my answer is unclear. Very best wishes and thank you so much for coming to just answer.
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