Can You Take Pictures of Coworkers Without Permission?

Nowadays, everybody is a photographer.

You can whip out your phone or camera from your pocket or bag to snap a picture of anyone or anything you want, whether it’s close up or from a distance.

This blog post will look at whether you can take pictures of coworkers without permission.

Can You Take Pictures of Coworkers Without Permission?

Is it okay to take pictures of coworkers without permission?

Yes, it’s legal. However, some of your coworkers may be sensitive about this, and they may consider it unethical.

If you invade their privacy by taking pictures of them in the bathroom, changing room, or locker room, this becomes illegal.

Coworkers don’t have special privileges that permit them to take images of their colleagues without their permission. Public figures love to have photos taken, but ordinary people don’t.

What Your Coworkers Need to Know About Being Taken Pictures Without Their Consent

Am I Allowed To Take Pictures of Coworkers Without Permission?

Your coworkers may be knowing some aspects of photo permission laws that allow someone to capture photos of individuals without requiring their authorization.

However, such rules apply only to public areas like streets and parks.

Your workplace is not a public area, and some public places are protected when individuals are entitled to privacy.

For example, even though public toilets are shared, you cannot take photos of people inside them.

When is Capturing a Picture of a Coworker Without Their Permission Considered a Breach of Privacy Rights?

Can You Take Pictures of Coworkers Without Permission?

When you take your coworker’s pictures, they are private, like in the company’s restrooms, changing room, or locker room.

They will be seeking some privacy in these places, and you will be invading their privacy.

Taking pictures without permission and posting them on social media is another illegal breach of privacy rights, and it can get you arrested.

Selling your coworkers’ pictures without their consent is illegal, and you can be arrested and later jailed.

If you want to sell the pictures you should ensure you have your coworkers’ consent.

Considerations for Posting Coworker Pictures on the Company Websites or Social Media

Can I Take Pictures of Coworkers Without Permission?

Obtaining a Consent

Asking your coworker if you can use their images on the company’s website is a good idea legally, but it also shows respect and promotes a coworker relationship.

If your coworker is comfortable being posted online, you can post them.

Some of your coworkers may have philosophical or religious reasons and don’t want you to post them online.

Others may fear being stalked and discriminated against because of their appearance or even judged.

It’s important to know if your coworker consents to you posting them online because these reasons may make a coworker decline from being photographed.

You should obtain written consent that ensures that you are adhering to the law and that you’re addressing your coworkers’ concerns and objectives.

The consent should include the following:

  • The motive of using the picture
  • How will you use the picture
  • That your coworker’s consent is voluntary
  • What can cancel the consent
  • The process of withdrawing.

Furthermore, it would be best to inform your coworker if they will be allowed to see the photo you will use on social media or the company’s website.

It would be best if you respected the decision of your coworker in case they don’t consent and avoid retaliation or pressure tactics to make them consent.

Avoid asking why your coworker has declined approval. If they answer no, leave it at that.

In addition to legal issues, there are practical considerations. and they include

Money and Company’s Budget

Social media and marketing collateral will become outdated if your coworker leaves the company.

The idea of having real coworkers is destroyed if the marketing materials contain images of real former coworkers, especially if they are fired because of misconduct.

You can update websites and delete Facebook posts from the news feeds, those images may never disappear from the internet, and you will have to replace them at the company’s cost.

You will also need money to replace the printed hardcopy materials.

Headshots

When you post on a website, your coworkers’ headshots “about us” or “bios” pages or other social media uses like the company’s LinkedIn page. 

In these, you need written consent from the coworker.

However, if your coworker knows that the company will do the headshot and knows what to use the headshot for, then the headshot agreement should be as good as a written consent form.

Other Articles In This Series

You might be wondering where else you can take photographs. This series of articles might be of interest:

Final Thoughts

The government should impose photography restrictions to prevent people from misusing it. Most people are misusing photography in today’s world, leading most to be arrested. 

To avoid you as a photographer from being arrested, know if someone is comfortable with you taking their pictures and ask for consent.