When and where are surveillance cameras allowed?

CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) - Just about every restaurant, business and office you go into you are being recorded by surveillance cameras.

But who can put cameras where, and when is it legal?

"As a general rule, in a public place there is no expectation of privacy when I comes to video recording. So a business or employer can install cameras to prevent theft, vandalism, etc.," advised attorney Arthur Brumett a Partner with Reminger Co., LPA in Cleveland.

Generally when you walk into a building you'll see a sign telling you the area is under surveillance but Brumett said that's not always enough for a company or business owner.

"Employers and business owners should not assume that simply posting a notice is good enough, and should definitely consult with legal counsel before starting any type of surveillance program," Brumett said. ""For example, audio recording must comply with federal and state wiretapping laws."

Restrooms and changing areas

The rules completely change when it comes to bathrooms and changing areas.

"Public bathrooms and changing rooms are major exceptions because there is an expectation of privacy. Cameras should not be placed in those areas," Brumett explained, and added that it's illegal.

Is putting in your own camera in a public place legal?

As we've seen in the headlines in the past few weeks, installing a hidden camera in a public bathroom is illegal.

But what if, for some reason, you wanted to install a camera in a public place like a mall food court?

Is that legal?

"If someone installs a hidden camera in a business without the owner's permission, first that's creepy, second there could be criminal implications such as trespassing or worse depending on the person's intent, the location, and what is being recorded," Brumett said.

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