Video surveillance legal in Hoosier state, but beware lawsuits

November 28, 2009

Most states—Indiana included—have no law on the books banning video surveillance in homes or businesses.

However, Ice Miller employment law specialist Michael Blickman cautioned, Indiana does have well-developed privacy law. Therefore, anyone considering using a hidden camera would do well to consider the ramifications of an invasion-of-privacy lawsuit.

Damages levied by a judge or jury are unlimited.

“If you do this, you take a huge risk,” Blickman said.

Filming someone in an area where they have a “reasonable expectation of privacy” opens the door to a civil suit, Blickman said. Those areas include tanning salons, rest rooms, and hotel, locker and lactation rooms.

Want to monitor a nanny? A hidden camera in a common area such as a living room or even in a child’s bedroom is OK, Blickman said; however, a cam in a bathroom, even if intended for monitoring bathing of children, would be considered an invasion of the nanny’s privacy.

Likewise, businesses can’t put a camera in a rest room, even if the intent is to nab drug users. However, offices, factory floors and other common areas are fair game.

Still, Blickman said the standard to demonstrate invasion of privacy is high—“extreme or outrageous conduct.”

The upshot for anyone considering a hidden camera is to locate it away from an area where people have a “reasonable expectation of privacy.” Even then, the risks of a potential lawsuit should be weighed, Blickman said.•


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