Constant Cameras at Work Are a Human Rights Violation, Says Dutch Court

A Florida-based company wanted its Netherlands-based employee to keep his camera on all the time.

The Dutch employee balked and, in a manner lawsuit-happy Americans should be proud of, sued. TechCrunch reports that the employee won “court costs, back wages, a fine of $50,000,” as well as the court invalidating his noncompete agreement.

And then the court handed down the ruling that declared requiring an employee to stay on camera for the whole day was a human rights violation.

That may seem a bit dramatic somehow. Having your boss stare at you all day doesn’t seem to rise to the level of “abductions, arbitrary arrests, detentions without trial, political executions, assassinations, and torture.”

But this Florida company learned, the hard and expensive way, that U.S. laws only apply in the U.S., and if you decide to hire foreign-based employees–even if they are U.S. citizens–you need to be ready to comply with those countries’ laws.

To keep reading, click here: Constant Cameras at Work Are a Human Rights Violation, Says Dutch Court

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4 thoughts on “Constant Cameras at Work Are a Human Rights Violation, Says Dutch Court

  1. Yes, all-day cameras for remote employees is a terrible idea. If the employees were in the office, would management be watching each one all day, every day? Of course not. An office in one’s home should be able to enjoy at least a minimal expectation of privacy.

    1. Spot on, grannybunny. Definitely a privacy issue and also a ridiculous way to manage professional adults. I wouldn’t want to work for someone who treats me like a toddler.

  2. I agee with grandbunny and Elizabeth West.

    Plus it is rather telling of the lack of HR law knowledge that this shows, “I’ve spoken with other business leaders with internationally located employees who literally had no idea they couldn’t simply consider the employee a U.S. employee. Their protest of “but we pay in U.S. dollars!” will not protect you from a European judge, as this company found out. ”

    And even more people in those same kind of roles likely have no idea that there can be laws of particular state which they need to be aware of, and comply with, not just U.S. Federal laws.

    This also does not address the difference between having a camera (equipment paid for and provided by the employer) on while one is working that job versus when one is on lunch or on a break or otherwise off of work.

    Also, should not the employer requiring that a camera be on while the employee is working provide the employee with either a physical background that allows the person not to share their home (i.e. have some bit of that kind of privacy), or provide a computer and webcam that supports the employee using a virtual background? And all costs of these should be borne by the employer? I say yes to both questions I pose.

  3. This is a good decision by the court. The only other instance I can think of where a camera is fixated at close range on a single person is a prisoner during suicide watch.

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