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  1. #1
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    Aug 2009
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    Default Video/Audio Surveillance

    My Question involves Florida Law:

    I hope this is the right forum for this question. MY employer is putting in video cameras throughout the office for theft prevention purposes. But in my opinion they going a bit overboard. They are putting in like 20 cameras throughout a small office of 30 people max, and we are told that these camera will be recording audio as well.

    My question is:
    1. Is it legal in Florida or with Federal law to record audio throughout the workplace.
    2. Is it legal to record video of individual workstations.

    The company is a software company and so most people are either working on a computer all day long or on the phone or both. I would think there would be something that would at least protect against the entire workplace being audio recorded, and I personally would find it intrusive to be video recorded all day long everyday.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Video/Audio Surveillance

    1. Is it legal in Florida or with Federal law to record audio throughout the workplace.
    you have been given notice of the recording therefore, if you speak with that knowledge, you have given permission and as such, is legal. I believe in Florida, it is kind of loose anyway when it comes to the workplace and might be legal even if it was a surreptitious recording.


    2. Is it legal to record video of individual workstations.
    absolutely. Just ask somebody that works at just about any bank. There is generally a camera designated to each work station.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Video/Audio Surveillance

    you have been given notice of the recording therefore, if you speak with that knowledge, you have given permission and as such, is legal. I believe in Florida, it is kind of loose anyway when it comes to the workplace and might be legal even if it was a surreptitious recording.
    Well they haven't sent out any formal notice via email or whatever, and they definitely haven't asked for consent. That's why I was wondering if employees would be within our right complain to a government agency or sue if it ever came to it.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Video/Audio Surveillance

    the do not need to ask for consent. It is their business.


    video; they are not limited in recording unless there is a reasonable expectation of privacy and you were not notified. A reasonable expectation of privacy has been ruled, generally, to apply to those areas where a person would normally not be viewable by another person such as the stall of a restroom.

    It does not apply to a general work area.

    if they give notice that you are being recorded in the stalls (or any other area where one might be able to claim a reasonable expectation of privacy), they can generally record in the stalls (or other places as noted) as well.

    audio recording; while I have seen suggestion that they may record at will without notice, at most, they would be required to provide notice. The fact you are here asking the questions you are shows you are aware of the intent to record audio so, in effect, you have already been provided notice.

    Notice of audio recording + you speaking = permission to record your audio

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Video/Audio Surveillance

    Everything your employer wants to do (as you describe in your post, anyway) is perfectly legal.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Video/Audio Surveillance

    Notice of audio recording + you speaking = permission to record your audio
    Like I said, the employers have not given a notice of any kind to the employees. Currently they only have video in place(it's a techie kind of workplace, we can tell). Only some of us have heard of the audio, and that came from talking to the guy installing the cameras, saying he would install that later.

    I have done a little research myself and have found various articles saying that it is not legal to record audio in general work areas without consent. But I haven't seen an actual Federal or State law document stating that, which is why I posted here. I think whether employees gave consent or not is up for debate. IE. under current circumstances, if they tried to discipline someone for hearing something on an audio recording, I don't see how they could prove that that person knew of the audio recording without sending a notice or handing out consent forms.

    And I guess to amend what I was asking earlier, given that no notice has been sent out. If employees suddenly see mics in place and suspect audio recordings and do not agree or consent to it, is there something in the us that protects against that gives us the right to complain to a labor board or something of that nature?

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Video/Audio Surveillance

    I don't have any statutes or case law handy, but in my understanding of the law here in Florida, audio recording is almost always banned and illegal unless there is the consent of both parties, or all parties if there is more than two.

    There are also federal statutes that apply.

    Not certain how it applies to a place of employment. Sorry, I don't have time to research that for you. This is the first time I have ever heard of an employer putting the entire white collar staff of an office under surveillance.
    If something does happen, that is going to be a heck of a lot of video someone is going to have to watch.

    You will notice though when they show surveillance videos of crimes on television, there is never any audio. Years ago Radio Shack and Super Circuits, for example, sold lots of cameras with microphones. Then with a change in federal law, the audio was dropped from all the products.

    Even if the employees all gave consent, there must be visitors to the office, which would make the entire setup a state and federal crime if they are recording audio. What? They are going to have every visitor sign a release.
    The release will probably start off with "Welcome to Stalag 13."

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Video/Audio Surveillance

    OTE=Matt9945;383177]Like I said, the employers have not given a notice of any kind to the employees. Currently they only have video in place(it's a techie kind of workplace, we can tell). Only some of us have heard of the audio, and that came from talking to the guy installing the cameras, saying he would install that later.
    so what do you want? You say there is no audio, fine. You know there is video, fine. What is your complaint?

    I have done a little research myself and have found various articles saying that it is not legal to record audio in general work areas without consent
    . like I said, knowledge plus speach equals consent and whn they hook the audio and they have not given notice, then you can yell about it. Until then, it's like saying someday the Sun will explode.


    ]But I haven't seen an actual Federal or State law document stating that, which is why I posted here. I think whether employees gave consent or not is up for debate.. under current circumstances, if they tried to discipline someone for hearing something on an audio recording, I don't see how they could prove that that person knew of the audio recording without sending a notice or handing out consent forms.
    when they get to that point, you can argue it is illegal to audio tape without consent. Until you know the are recording audio, you will either have to guess, ask, or ignore it.

    And I guess to amend what I was asking earlier, given that no notice has been sent out. If employees suddenly see mics in place and suspect audio recordings and do not agree or consent to it, is there something in the us that protects against that gives us the right to complain to a labor board or something of that nature?
    there is nothing illegal about putting microphones all over the place. The legality is in actually recording.

    if they record you illegally, you call the police.

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