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Can a manager at your job take phone pics of you w/o knowledge/consent & e-mail them?

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Junior Member
Can a manager at your job take phone pics of you w/o knowledge/consent & e-mail them?

What is the name of your state (only U.S. law)? Kentucky

I was at my workplace doing my job routinely. I happened to look around and noticed a lower-level manager was behind me, pointing a smartphone directly at me. Smartphones are something I don't generally notice, because texting among management is fairly routine. Except the phone was pointed directly at me. So I asked "Are you filming me?" "No." So I forgot about it.

Later on, the general manager of the place pulled out his own smart phone and showed me a photo of me behind my back doing my job, which was the same incident I described above. He commented that I did acceptable work, according to the photo. Which was nice, and all. But inside I was creeped-out. His demeanor was that photos like this is routine and nothing out of the ordinary.

I still feel creeped-out that someone would take photos of me at work, without my knowledge, consent, lie to me when asked about it. And e-mail them to higher-ups, or to whoever, For whatever reason. I never had any clue whatsoever that this ever happened at my job. The phone hadn't made a flash, or any kind of sound indicating that a photo had been taken. If I hadn't looked, I wouldn't have suspected. If the general manager hadn't shown me, I wouldn't have known.

I'm a devoted worker, I'm not a trouble-maker, and I always do the best job I'm capable of. And the place has plenty of security cameras, which one would think would make personal smartphone photos even less of a necessity. Security camera footage doesn't creep me out because it generally isn't watched if there isn't a problem. And its certainly not e-mailed, or dare i say, added to someone's personal creeper collection.

If I had NOT been doing my job, if I had been damaging equipment, if I had been stealing, or doing anything that I should NOT have been doing... I might understand this.

How am I supposed to focus on doing my job from now on, when I have no idea what someone behind my back might be doing with a smartphone? I think my biggest actual concern (aside from the creeper factor) is a photo taken of me that can be misconstrued as me doing something that I can be terminated for (and the low-level manager winning brownie points for it), I'm just curious, is this legal? If it is, do I at least have a legal right to be told when photographs of me are being taken?


Senior Member
Not only legal but apparently approved by the upper manager.

The only issue that clearly is not legal is taking pics, with not being given notice, when you do have an exoectstion of privacy such as when in the restroom.

Recording audio is going to be very dependent on the exact circumstances.


Senior Member
I knew it was expectation, I just thought your version of the word was funny. Thanks autowhatsis for the chuckle. :D

The Occultist

Senior Member
Have the pics been published in any way (printed in a brochure, posted online, etc.)? Do any of the pics show any sort of undergarment or anything of such inappropriate levels?

Either way, this is not an employment issue. The answer to my former question could be a "likeness rights" issue (unless you've signed any work documentation waiving your right to such), and the latter has the potential to be a criminal action depending on just what is visible in the photographs.

If the answer to the former question is affirmative, I will link a couple of knowledgeable posters on this site to your post as they may not be likely to see it otherwise (since employment law is not what they excel in).


Senior Member
In regard to this being an employment issue, which is how I perceive the OP taking it, I think that long before the person goes to some legal means to stop this, they should, at the least, ask the manager what he/she is doing, why such pictures are necessary, and tell him/her that this makes me uncomfortable.

If this is any sort of improper or inappropriate behavior on the part of this junior manager, the OP needs to have discussed it with someone and attempted to solve the problem within the workplace before going outside for recourse. If, for example, the employee feels the manager has a crush on him or her, and wants his picture for a personal reason, the manager's supervisor needs to know this so they can be given a chance to deal with the situation. If the employee feels they have been "dare I say, added to someone's personal creeper collection," they certainly should discuss this feeling with management.

If this was an effort by the junior manager to harass or intimidate the employee, make them feel threatened for some reason, it's probably still going to be legal, it's not illegal in most cases to aggravate your employees. But to clarify the situation, the employee should certainly ask the manager why they were made, and if this isn't helpful, they should go up another level and ask the manager's supervisor if there is some problem with his/her work that he needs to be made aware of. If there is any whiff of a sexual harassment situation, the first thing that would be looked at was whether or not the employer was made aware of the situation and given an opportunity to correct it.

As for "how can I continue to work, knowing this may be going on?" I'd say you should be looking for some other place to work if this is this upsetting, as well as informing your employers about your feelings. As the original post points out, there are security cameras everywhere. How do you know they're not being watched? Your expectation of privacy on the job is very limited.

The OP should not believe that he can't be fired for any reason at any time in an "at will" state. The employer doesn't need pictures to legally do this. If there is some issue with his job performance that causes the junior manager to be taking photos, the employee should be made aware of it, and be given a chance to correct the behavior.

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