Uses of CCTV to Monitor Employees

Business and home alarm systems have been around for decades. In fact, the industry started with commercial systems and then spread to the general public and residential use over time. As systems have advanced even more, closed-circuit television (CCTV) or video surveillance has also been integrated. While most think of this in terms of preventing robbery and theft, uses of CCTV to monitor employees have grown as well.

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If you’ve been looking at business alarm systems, but aren’t sure if your intended uses of CCTV to monitor employees is ideal and ethical, read on for more information.

Warning: Business Alarm Systems are Subject to Privacy Laws

Before we delve into uses of CCTV to monitor employees, it’s important to not that business alarm systems are subject to privacy laws. It is considered unlawful surveillance and an invasion of privacy to install cameras any place an employee might feel he or she is entitled to total privacy. An obvious example of this would be a restroom, though locker rooms and sleeping quarters would also meet the same guidelines.

It’s also illegal to record oral communication due to federal wiretap laws. For this reason, most surveillance setups do not record audio. Additionally, employers cannot monitor union activity, and individual state laws may place extra restrictions too. For instance, in some areas, people working in cubicles may have the expectation of privacy while they work, whereas a cashier should know their actions while handling cash will be scrutinized.

It’s further expected that you notify your employees they’re under surveillance. If you’re unsure if the placement of your surveillance equipment is legal, speak with an attorney before installing.

How to Talk to Employees About New Business Alarm Systems

Employers and employees have a legal duty to not act in a way that’s likely to destroy or seriously damage trust and confidence. If not handled properly, the installation of new business alarm systems which make use of surveillance cameras could put an employer in hot water. For this reason, it’s important to talk to employees before an installation is completed.

Employers should have a written policy and should explain to staff members when and why surveillance cameras will be installed and the uses of CCTV to monitor employees. They should know when they will be surveil, the nature of the surveillance, how any data will be used, and what measures you have in place to protect their privacy. Again, if you’re unsure how to roll out a new CCTV program, speak with an attorney for advice related to your specific situation and location.

Uses of CCTV to Monitor Employees

Theft Prevention

Theft prevention is arguably the most common use. In businesses like casinos, banks, and jewelry stores, employees behind the counter are almost always on camera. Most businesses also have cash registers covered by cameras as well. That said, anytime employees come into contact with something of value, it may be acceptable to have cameras in operation.


Employee safety should be a priority for all employers. Cameras can help prevent violence between staff members or violence directed toward them from outside forces. It may also discourage outside entities from robbing a business, adding another layer of protection for employees. In situations where heavy machinery or other dangerous equipment is being used, cameras can also be used to ensure that all health and safety procedures established by the employer are being followed.

Some intelligent systems now run scans for dangerous behaviors and alert an operator when they’re detected. Lastly, cameras are routinely used at entry points to a building. They may be used to buzz people in or to make sure only those who truly belong on site gain access to special areas.

Misconduct Prevention

Some industries are more prone to employee misconduct than others. If there’s a chance staff members will damage property, swipe items, or otherwise engage in bad behavior, cameras can be used as a deterrent or to prove which individuals were involved in transgressions, so disciplinary action can be completed with confidence.

Productivity Improvement

Too much time around the water cooler and handling personal business during working hours can tank productivity. Staff members naturally tend to be better at staying on task when they know they’re being watched, but having a recording of how someone’s work hours was spent can also help employers address productivity issues too.

Regulatory Compliance

Some industries, such as financial services, have strict regulatory requirements, which video surveillance can ensure employers meet.

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