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Washington Journal of Law, Technology & Arts

Abstract

Hidden cameras may guide a union employer to find employee misconduct, but at what cost? Since the late 1990s, two federal appeals courts and the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) have required employers to bargain with unions before using hidden video surveillance to observe employees. Until more recently, however, it was less apparent how lawyers should advise clients when an employer wished to use hidden cameras or had already installed non-disclosed video surveillance. In August 2005, the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals decided a case surrounding surveillance at an Anheuser-Busch facility, which provided further guidance on these issues. This Article analyzes the Anheuser-Bush decision and clarifies the scope of what might happen to an employer who fails to bargain and that subsequently takes actions based on hidden camera technology. It also addresses how an employer can discuss hidden cameras with a union without undermining the benefits of such technology.

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