A reader writes VentureBeat asking if it’s okay to install surveillance cameras to watch employees after a rash of trade secret thefts in the office.
Proceed with caution.
4 Kinds of Surveillance
There are generally four kinds of employee related surveillance explains Curtis Smolar, a lawyer representing small businesses and start-ups:
- Work Related Data: Usually acceptable and generally non-invasive, this monitoring type relates to on-the-job employee performance.
- Computer Data: Potentially the most invasive type of monitoring, protect yoruself by making sure that your employee handbook states that this data is not private.
- Video Monitoring: Coinsidered very invasive by employees and often rife with gray areas, notification of a company policy might prove acceptable.
- Audio Recording: Possibly illegal in many states, a broad and highly detailed written company policy outlining the various technological surveillance methods give employers a fighting chance in court.
Protecting Your Company
Some surveillance in the workplace is acceptable but More Invasive = More Problems for the company. Don’t be vague and secretive. That is, a detailed and obvious company policy that sets privacy expectations low is your best bet when protecting your company.