Can A Photo Taken Of Me Be Used In Discipline?

Question to Ask the Workplace Doctors about a photo:

I got caught with my laptop at work but only because a co-worker took pictures of me and sent them to the site supervisor. Now I have to go have a meeting with him and the owner. What I want to know is, is that legal? Can he use that evidence against me?

Signed, Feeling Negative

DearĀ Feeling Negative:

The photo of you and your laptop aren’t evidence in a crime so there is no legality about how they can be used. You aren’t being charged with a crime nor was any crime violated by a coworker. Apparently you aren’t supposed to have your personal laptop at work but you brought it anyway. In whatever manner a supervisor finds out about a rules violation, action must be taken. Once your site supervisor became aware of it, he was obligated to take formal action (in this case, requiring you to meet with him and the owner of the business.) If he hadn’t done so, he could have been fired or disciplined too.If you only had it but weren’t using it during business hours that may be a circumstance you could use in your defense. But, since a coworker took a photo of it, it sounds as though this was not the first time. Perhaps it was and you can use THAT in your defense as well.You didn’t ask about the meeting, but I’ll suggest this: In situations like this, it is usually far better to go into the meeting with an air of apology and a promise to not do it again.

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