At a recent meeting I attended, there was a discussion about the general availability of cheap video surveillance equipment on the market, which raised questions about whether you should invest in such a system to add security to your home or your place of business. It also raised questions in my mind about what legal issues are raised when business owners add video equipment to the workplace. This blog post is about the legality in Oklahoma of making use of A/V equipment in a workplace.
VIDEO RECORDING IN THE WORKPLACE
Generally speaking in Oklahoma, video recording in the workplace is allowed. This is certainly true when the cameras are not hidden. Hidden cameras are also allowed, even without an employee’s knowledge or consent, in order to prevent theft and to monitor productivity. If your workplace is a union shop, it is still generally allowed, although you should check any policies/agreements in place in this regard, specifically about whether the union has to be informed about the fact of video recording and/or the placement of the video cameras. Whether hidden or not, the video cannot be invasive: Don’t put cameras in a bathroom or a locker room.
AUDIO RECORDING IN THE WORKPLACE
If the video camera also records audio, wiretapping and eavesdropping statutes come into play, specifically the Security of Communications Act (13 O.S. Section 176.1 et al.)
Per that section, you must have the consent of at least one person engaged in the conversation recorded. As a practical matter, it is not wise to audio record in addition to video in Oklahoma, unless you have a very clear statement of the intent to do so in your policies and procedures manual, along with consent to the recording given on the signature page of the manual.