Have you ever entered into a dressing room where you were greeted by a sales associate asking if you give consent to allow video surveillance while you try on your garments? More than likely you answered no, and if this was the case, you probably would have elected to shop elsewhere. But, the issue regarding video surveillance has been around for years now and hasn’t diminished. With states like Massachusetts who have some rather confusing laws when it comes to fitting room video monitoring, customers just aren’t clear as to what is legal and what “protocols” might be going beyond anything that is ethical and acceptable.
For instance, dopplr.com highlighted a law in Massachusetts that states there is no monitoring allowed of any sort in dressing rooms, yet the state has another law that does permit it, so as long as the customer consents. But who would consent to being watched as they try on clothing? Basically, what this means is that shoppers are provided with a warning, but it is usually in the form of a poster that is hanging on the wall. But, how many individuals read these posters? And what if they aren’t hung in plain sight? What if someone is shopping and they are from another country?
Perhaps these would be a great questions for a sexual harassment attorney who is more than familiar with the laws and can better explain what your rights would be given your particular circumstances.
What States Permit Video Surveillance in Store Fitting Rooms?
Fitting room surveillance was established to help stores cut down on their “shrinkage,” which refers to the amount of inventory that is lost to fraud, theft, or waste according to 14news.com.
Right now, there are only 13 states that prohibit stores from having any type of monitoring system in their dressing rooms and those include: Alabama, Arkansas, California, Delaware, Georgia, Hawaii, Kansas, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, New Hampshire, South Dakota, and Utah. The remaining 37 states that aren’t listed above require that some sort of signage is posted for those customers entering into the fitting room so they are aware they could potentially be monitored.
As much as it can be understood that stores cannot continue to afford losing inventory to shoplifters, we have to question the actual person who is sitting behind the screen watching these monitoring devices. Who are they? What makes them “qualified” to watch a women, man, teen, or toddler undress? It sounds a little outlandish if you consider the circumstances and possibly even a form of sexual harassment as many aren’t aware they are being watched.
Well, according to the laws surrounding fitting room video monitoring, it must be a loss prevention associate that is able to “monitor” shoppers. And as you know, these individuals are just like you and me, an average citizen with no more right than any other person to see someone exposed down to the bare minimum.
Customers Aren’t the Only Ones Who Need Watching
Aside from the fact that stores such as Abercrombie & Fitch, PacSun, Forever 21, or even The Limited might have a loss prevention associate watch you while you undress, surprisingly, more theft comes from employees than it does from shoppers. So, why are shoppers subjected to such conditions? Dopplr.com highlighted that although the percentage for employee theft was lower than shopper theft, “employees stole six times what the average shopper did in terms of monetary value.”
If we recollect back to why fitting rooms were invented, we know privacy plays a huge factor. But with all the controversy that now exists with our cellphones, headphones, tablets, and computers, many companies are getting a little too comfortable invading individuals’ personal rights and even their preferences.
If you feel you have become the victim to behavior that might be deemed as sexual harassment, contact USAttorneys.com so they can help you in getting you paired up with a qualified sexual harassment lawyer nearby. While there are specific laws that permit companies to take certain initiatives, there are many other laws that prohibit harassment and our attorneys can help you build a solid case to prove you were mistreated.