Nanny Surveillance Cameras

Surveillance devices are becoming common in many places of employment. For nanny employers, the International Nanny Association (INA) offers the following guidelines regarding cameras for supervisory purposes:

Does an employer need to disclose the use of a hidden camera or other surveillance device to their nanny?

The International Nanny Association strongly recommends if an employer has installed or plans to install hidden cameras, that the employer discusses the subject with the nanny, preferably before employment commences.

If the nanny does not object to being videotaped during working hours INA recommends addressing videotaping in a written and signed, employer work agreement. If the nanny is uncomfortable with the situation she/he should be able to quit or refuse the position without fear of negative consequence.

Undisclosed hidden cameras may cause embarrassment for both the employer and the nanny. A family may lose an excellent nanny if the nanny discovers the camera and feels that she or he has been spied upon and is not trusted.

Does quality really matter when choosing a surveillance device?

The International Nanny Association cautions that if a camera is going to be installed, the employers should be aware that lesser quality cameras are not filming “real time” and movements may appear distorted, similar to the effects of a strobe light.

What are the laws regarding surveillance cameras?

The International Nanny Association urges employers to educate themselves on the laws relating to the use of surveillance cameras. The Federal Wire-Tapping Law of The Electronic Communications Privacy Act of 1986, 18 US Code, Section 2510-3126, 1987 Version, states that it is illegal to tape conversations without the knowledge and consent of the individual being taped.

The International Nanny Association also urges nanny employers to be knowledgeable about their state regulations regarding the placement of cameras in their home.

Can I rely on my surveillance device to capture proof of abuse or neglect?

The International Nanny Association urges parents to follow their instincts and terminate their caregiverimmediately if they have suspicions that their child or children have been or is being abused or neglected.

The purpose of the camera should be to deter abuse or neglect and not to capture it.

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It is the wish of The International Nanny Association that parents hire wisely. INA recommends that parents:

  • Use reputable nanny referral agencies to screen potential candidates
  • Check the nanny’s references personally
  • Insist that background checks are completed
  • Conduct a minimum of two personal interviews and a working interview before offering employment
  • Draft a detailed work agreement to be signed by the employer and the nanny.

After employment commences, INA recommends that the employer spend time getting to know the nanny, drop in occasionally during working hours, hold regular scheduled meetings, show respect for the nanny’s observations and opinions and encourage open communication.

The International Nanny Association is a non-profit, educational association for nannies and those who educate, place, employ, and support professional in-home child care providers.