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Reevaluating The Legalities Of Zoom Video Conferencing

Updated: Mar 8

Mary recently joined a company and was informed that she is to make herself available for a group Zoom meeting. Mary dislikes Zoom meetings. She feels uncomfortable. She dislikes being on camera and her conversation (participation) on record. Mary also knows that if she chooses not to comply, she will face punishment, and she is concerned about ostracism.

 

What's poor Mary to do? 



Two Party Consent States
Two-Party Consent Laws Zoom Video Conferencing




As the world becomes more aggressive in hiring and hiring a remote workforce, many companies and employees need to reevaluate the legalities of Zoom video conferencing meetings before pushing the record button and leaning in.

 

For starters, state law can dominate federal law. In other words, when state law affords more rights than federal law, state law is presumed to prevail. It's also important to note that where an employee sits (performs their work duties) determines the applicable state laws for that individual.


In Mary's case, Mary is a remote employee working from home in the state of Virginia. Mary is employed by a company headquartered in New York. The company, including HR and payroll departments, must follow and adhere to employment laws under the State of Virginia and evaluate federal law to determine which prevails. Additionally, county laws need to be reviewed and considered. 


Here is where Mary needs to understand the law to take her feelings of discomfort and disagreement to participate in the Zoom call with either her manager or HR. Under federal law, employers can't force Mary to be present on a Zoom call or meeting. Otherwise, this would involve the use of power or strength (workplace coercion) to force Mary to behave in a certain way, making her choose to comply and be punished if she does not follow the directive. Specific state laws will require Mary's consent to be present in a live video-recorded meeting. As of 2024, 13 states have a two-party consent law, where every party needs to agree (consent) to the recording. 

 

Companies and HR need to take Mary's apprehension about participating in a Zoom meeting very seriously. Companies can face criminal charges, lawsuits, or be slapped with a felony if they disregard Mary and her concerns. When it comes to the legality of recording calls and conversations using a video recorder (including cell phones) with audio capacity, it's best to take caution and not record them. If recording conversations is a routine practice at work, it might be a good idea to consult an attorney to ensure your company is following federal and state consent laws.



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