Caught on Camera – Zippers, Buttons and an Invasion of Restroom Privacy

While the Update rarely has the opportunity to stoop to the level of bathroom humor, a New Jersey case is flush with facts that beg for a good airing out.

The Kushner Companies hired High Tech Installations to put surveillance cameras in two women’s rooms and two men’s rooms in their building in Fair Lawn, N.J., to deter vandalism.  Later, when employees found out that they were being secretly recorded (monitors were set up in a closet), 36 of them raised a stink – suing for invasion of privacy.

Company management claimed the cameras did not violate employee privacy because they filmed “common areas” in the bathrooms, and not employees inside the toilet stalls.  The employees countered that the captured images showed them zipping zippers, buttoning up, and adjusting garments as they emerged from toilet stalls.

Apparently the New Jersey Superior Court (Appellate Division) agreed that the company had been caught with its pants down. The court reversed an earlier dismissal, and the parties subsequently settled for $1,000,000. We understand that the paperwork is finished on this case.

Michael Homans is a Labor & Employment attorney and founding partner of HomansPeck LLCFor more employment law updates, including news and links to important information pertaining to legal developments that may affect your business, subscribe to Michael’s blog, or follow him on Twitter @EmployLawUpdate.


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