Sleeping in peace: Can employee claim that video of his on-duty nap violates his privacy? — Business Management Daily: Free Reports on Human Resources, Employment Law, Office Management, Office Communication, Office Technology and Small Business Tax Business Management Daily

Sleeping in peace: Can employee claim that video of his on-duty nap violates his privacy?

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What should you do if you suspect an employee is goofing off at work or perhaps sleeping at his desk?

You’d like to have better evidence than just the hearsay of a co-worker who says he’s caught his co-worker playing solitaire or napping. You want good, solid proof that the employee is slacking.

One employer recently took a high-tech approach to that problem, setting up a surveillance camera to catch an employee in the act. It worked, but it took a trip to court to finally put this case to bed.

Recent case:
When supervisors suspected Lawrence Smith was sleeping in a cubicle, they installed a surveillance camera. When the camera caught him napping, Smith got a rude awakening.

He was fired.

He sued, alleging invasion of privacy. He said he never expected to be filmed while working in a cubicle and had the right to some privacy.

The court tossed out his case, explaining that Smith didn’t have a reasonable expectation of privacy in the open cubicle. It said employees aren’t entitled to privacy in common work areas or hallways. (Smith v. Methodist Hospital, No. 3:07-CV-1230, ND TX, 2008)

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