CIPA and California’s Right to Privacy in the Workplace
Hidden cameras, screen recorders, keystroke logging devices: the tools of surveillance seem to be everywhere nowadays, in spaces you’d expect as well as in some more surprising places. And with the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic and widespread work-from-home for many workers, that list of places has expanded to include the place many of us value privacy the most—our homes.
Fortunately, you aren’t defenseless against invasions of your privacy in the workplace, wherever that may be. One of the earliest privacy protections passed by the California Legislature, the California Invasion of Privacy Act (“CIPA”), first passed in 1967, is also one of the most important defenses workers in California have against nosy employers who overstep the boundaries of your legally protected right to privacy. While CIPA was originally a law primarily outlawing wiretapping, today it protects Californians from a broad range of intrusive monitoring techniques.
The following is a series of frequently asked questions you may have about your privacy rights and how to protect them in the workplace.
Q: What does California law cover?
Q: What counts as a “confidential” or private communication?
Q: What does the law prevent my employer from doing?
Q: When is my employer allowed to record my private conversations?
Q: Can I be visually surveilled in the workplace?
Q: What about other types of private information I want to protect?
Q: How do I know if I’m being recorded without my consent, and how do I protect myself?
It can be deeply disturbing—and even frightening—to learn that your employer or someone else is violating your privacy and listening in on your private conversations without your consent, but you aren’t powerless to fight back against it. If you think you are being surveilled or recorded without your consent, or have any questions about any of the issues discussed in this newsletter, feel free to contact us at (323) 205-7796 for more information.