While legal analysis of surveillance in the workplace typically focuses on what employers can and can’t do, it’s also important to remember that employees, too, can endanger personal privacy rights by using their cell phones or recording devices to gather private, confidential and sensitive information, including personal details about their own co-workers. Here is a template policy you can adapt to prevent employees from secretly recording work conversations.
- STATEMENT OF POLICY
ABC Company respects the rights of employees to engage in candid and private conversations with co-workers, supervisors, managers and other business relations without concerns about whether what they say is being recorded. In addition, unauthorized recording of work conversations compromises the confidentiality of protected and sensitive information about the Company’s business, including the confidential data our entrust to us. Accordingly, it is a violation of ABC Company for employees to record work-related conversations, whether overtly or secretly, with a tape recorder, cell phone or other recording or electronic device (which this Policy will refer to collectively as “recording devices”) without prior written approval.
The purpose of this Policy is to establish clear ground rules for employees’ use of recording devices in the workplace to protect the privacy of co-workers, management, customers, clients and the public.
- BAN ON RECORDING DEVICES IN THE WORKPLACE
Employees may not bring recording devices into the workplace unless they first apply for and receive written authorization from their department head. In seeking authorization, employees must explain the business purpose for bringing the recording device to work. Authorization will be granted on a case-by-case basis if the department head determines that allowing the employee to bring the recording device to the workplace will serve the stated business purpose and not violate or unduly endanger the privacy rights of any other person. Authorization may be revoked at any time for any reason. In such cases, employees will be given a reasonable opportunity to remove the equipment from the premises.
- ACCOUNTABILITY & DISCIPLINE
Secretly bringing recording devices to work or using such devices to secretly record work conversations in violation of this Policy will be grounds for discipline, up to and including termination, in accordance with the ABC Company Progressive Discipline Policy and the terms of any applicable contracts or collective agreements.
- COMPANY RIGHT TO PERFORM WORKPLACE SURVEILLANCE
Employees are reminded that ABC Company reserves the right to use recording devices, as well as surveillance cameras and equipment in the workplace for purposes of providing a safe, secure and healthy environment for employees, vendors and visitors in accordance with and subject to the limitations set forth in the Company’s Workplace Video Surveillance Policy (attached hereto as Appendix A). Thus, while this Policy is intended to prevent unauthorized recordings by their co-workers, employees should have no reasonable expectations of privacy in work areas where surveillance may be carried out in accordance with said Surveillance Policy.