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5 things to know about nanny cams in New York

If you are a New York City nanny, you may have concerns over being surreptitiously videotaped by your employer. You may wonder whether it is legal and what your rights are in the matter. Below are five important points to know and understand regarding the use of nanny cams on the job.

  1. Your employer has the right to install and use hidden surveillance cameras in his or her home. It might make some nannies uncomfortable to suspect that they are being surreptitiously surveilled by their employers as they go about their caregiving tasks. However, parents are within their legal rights to use nanny cams to observe the interactions between their child(ren) and the nanny supervising them.
  2. No employer has the right to install nanny cams in the bathroom used by the nanny or in the nanny's private room if it is a live-in employment situation. Areas where nanny cams are frequently installed are the nursery or child's bedroom and common areas of the apartment or home where the nanny and child spend most of their time.
  3. Nanny cams must be used for reasonable purposes, e.g., making sure that an infant or child is being properly cared for. An employer could run into legal barriers if he or she has installed secret videotaping devices for a commercial enterprise, to share private matters publicly or for purposes of voyeurism.
  4. Employers may inform their nannies - either verbally or in writing as part of a comprehensive employment agreement - that they have installed and are monitoring the nanny-child interactions. Some employers acknowledge the "creep factor" of secretly recording their nannies. They deal proactively with the situation by informing the caregivers directly about the installed surveillance systems. In some instances, the nannies may be required to sign releases as a condition of employment.
  5. The use of secret nanny cams can cause a potential breach of trust between employers and nannies. While it's certainly understandable that parents want to protect their children from abuse from their caregivers, constantly wondering if you are being watched can be quite unnerving. It can even hinder a genuine, loving relationship from forming between a nanny and her charge. Alternatively, however, the possibility of surreptitious filming can make sure that the quality of care rendered to the child is top-notch.

If you are a nanny in New York City who believes that nanny cams were improperly used to surveil you either during your working hours or on your time off, knowing your rights in the matter can help you decide whether or not to take legal action against your employer.

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