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audio in workplace
February 8, 2018
audio in workplace
    I work for a company who currently has Video Surveillance cameras in place for things like theft, accidents, etc.
    I recently learned that they are going to be updating these cameras to include audio recording cameras.  Furthermore, I was also notified that at any given time, the shop that I work at could be monitored by employees higher up in the corporation at any given time.  My biggest concern here (aside from the lack of trust issue that this corporation now seems to express), is that I believe that they are not able to record us since we have not been given consent forms.
    So, here in the state of Ohio, I was wondering what are my legal courses of action, and what rights as an employee do I have to prevent this company from doing this, which makes me feel as though it is an invasion of Privacy.
    Also, would I be correct in guessing that the Ohio Wiretapping Law does indeed apply to this situation, since per the law a person in the conversation can consent to a recording, but the recording is being done by people who are not in the conversation, rather they are listening in remotely in another city (Independence Ohio to be specific) at a location in Canton Ohio.
    I would like to know what our rights are as employees in this matter.
    Many thanks.
    Some people confuse me with a Public Service Provider, which, as most of you know, I am not.  So here is a non-alarm industry person asking for [free] advice.  Of course, he didn't get it from me.  But, as installers of these systems this topic comes up time to time.  Thought I'd use this opportunity to address it again.
    You are in a one person or all persons state.  Either one person or all persons need to consent to audio recording.  And it's not just recording, but mechanical interception; listening with mechanical device.  In the employment arena it's easy to get consent; just include it in the Employment Agreement or consent to the Handbook.  That covers the employee, and in a one person consent state, it covers whoever they talk to.  In an all person state you obviously need the consent of all parties.
    When I say "you need consent" I mean the end user, the operator - the one doing the mechanical listening and recording.  That's not you.  You can install these systems.  
    The Commercial All in One, the contract you would use for these installations [yes you can also do it at a residence and then it's the Residential All in One] covers audio, and it advised the end user - subscriber to use the system lawfully.  The contract does not tell the subscriber what lawfully means - and neither should you.  You can with confidence let the subscriber know that audio is lawful if used correctly.  They need to satisfy themselves what lawful means.  
    You think only audio or video needs to be used lawfully but that caveat doesn't apply to other alarm systems you install?  What do you think happens to an end user who continuously and intentionally sets off a fire or even burglar alarm?  


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Ken Kirschenbaum,Esq
Kirschenbaum & Kirschenbaum PC
Attorneys at Law
200 Garden City Plaza
Garden City, NY 11530
516 747 6700 x 301
516 747 6700