More and more companies are restricting employee use of personal cell phone cameras on the job for fear that these ubiquitous devices might create legal headaches, lead to job-related claims, and/or compromise company trade secrets.
For example, employees might take inappropriate photos or videos of co-workers without their permission, leading to accusations of sexual harassment or invasion of privacy. Even if the picture-taking doesn’t create legal problems having these images posted online might well embarrass the employees depicted or make them uncomfortable.
Soured relationships in the workplace can also create problems. A disgruntled employee might want to embarrass a boss or gather evidence for filing a legal claim. All sorts of types of images – from a supervisor getting upset with an employee to overall working conditions – could easily become fodder in an employment dispute.
What’s more, if your company has patented products and closely-protected manufacturing processes, any information leaked to a competitor might be extremely damaging.
The best way to deal with this risk is to develop a written policy that controls employee use of cell phone cameras at work, with clear penalties for violations. Determine which workers need cameras as part of their jobs (for example, truck drivers who might have to photograph an accident for insurance purposes). Make sure that employees permitted to use camera phones at work give you the right to review all images and delete any work-related images. You should also prohibit employees from posting work-related photos on line.
The key to success lies in keeping your workers informed about this policy and enforcing it consistently.
To learn more, feel free to get in touch with our agency’s risk management specialists.