Business and personal security are increasing concerns throughout the country, but luckily, technology is meeting demand while keeping electronic surveillance and other risk-management measures affordable and accessible. Even something as simple as a security camera goes a long way to deter criminal activity. Before you look into stepping up security in your place of business, here are some factors to consider.
Benefits of Video Surveillance in the Workplace
Using cameras in the workplace is common; in fact, more than half of all businesses in the U.S. use some form of monitoring system. Most employees feel more secure knowing that there’s technology that can help deter crimes against them while protecting the staff and company from theft, invasion and vandalism. Aside from crime prevention, there are many other advantages to using security surveillance on the job, including:
– increased transparency
– improved employee productivity
– records evidence of crime
– helps management make decisions
– lowers business insurance costs
Disadvantages of Video Surveillance Equipment in the Workplace
The benefits of having such a system far outweigh the disadvantages, but there are a few. One is the initial cost. However, this can be offset by leasing the equipment from a security firm rather than buying it. Many insurance companies also offer discounts and other incentives for installing security technology, and that can further reduce cost. Then there is the problem of criminals stepping up their game faster than your technology can keep on top of it. Leasing equipment can help here as well; many companies will upgrade your system at little or no cost to you.
However, there’s a fine line between wanting to protect your business and violating employee trust and privacy. A good manager knows how to walk that line, but it helps to know the laws surrounding surveillance and the rights of your staff. Here’s some basic information that can help.
Areas of Concern for Employers
In addition to cost and the risk of obsolescence, their are legal concerns for employers who use electronic monitoring systems in-house. There are some who feel that video systems and cameras are an invasion of privacy, and there can be some resentment from those who see surveillance as a trust issue. However, as long as your company follows legal guidelines about where and how this type of monitoring takes place, you have every right to protect your business from the inside as well as from intruders on the outside.
Most of the laws regarding employee monitoring are left to the discretion of the state, and they use a separation of public and private spaces as a guideline. For example, in California, it’s illegal for an employer to install a two-way mirror or security video in lockers rooms, restrooms, showers and employee break areas. The state of Connecticut has similar laws regarding cameras in bathrooms and employee lounges. In some states, it’s also illegal to use surveillance in union halls or to record staff meetings that pertain to union business.
In cases where there is no set law or a gray area in the existing law, courts will weigh the employers right to protect his or her business interests against the employee’s implied right to a reasonable level of privacy in the workplace. While employees do have the right to a certain level of privacy on the job, as a business owner, you have certain rights and obligations to your company and shareholders, including:
– the right to protect industry secrets from competitors
– the right to protect other employees from disgruntle co-workers or former co-workers
– the right to protect your company and shareholders from malfeasance and fraud
– the right to ensure an optimal level of productivity on the job
A consultation with a licensed business attorney can provide further information about the legal rights and obligations of business owners regarding privacy and security surveillance in your state.
Video security surveillance in conjunction with a 24/7 monitoring service will give you the peace of mind that comes from knowing that someone is keeping an eye on your property even when you can’t. There are many companies that can customize your configuration and provide a monitoring and response system for a relatively small investment. The benefit of choosing such a service extends to troubleshooting and tech support as well. You can learn more by contacting a security firm in your area.