Employer Liability for Illegal Restroom Videotaping

In another victory for employees and privacy rights, a ruling issued this week against Finish Line, Inc. will further establish employer liability in cases involving illegal videotaping of employees by a store manager. In Antonelli v. Finish Line, Inc., ADRS Case No. 12-5331-JCI, a binding arbitration ruling denied Finish Line, Inc.’s Motion for Summary Judgment on most claims brought by Plaintiff employees, including specific statutory violations, as well as invasion of privacy and infliction of emotional distress.

The Plaintiffs, represented by William M. Audet and Joshua C. Ezrin of Audet and Partners, LLP, have alleged that a Finish Line, Inc. store manager, David Meyer, mounted a security camera in the employee restroom and customer change room in 2009. Mr. Meyer has claimed that he used the hidden camera as part of a loss prevention investigation.

Finish Line, Inc., an athletic apparel retailer with 660 stores in 47 states, had argued that an employer cannot be held liable for the intentional or criminal conduct of its employees. The arbitrator, Hon. James C. Emerson (Ret.), disagreed, holding that “triable issues of fact” exist as to whether the company “actually induced” or “actually caused” the alleged videotaping. Under the legal doctrine of respondeat superior, employers are traditionally liable for the acts of employees provided those acts were within the scope of their employment.

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