As reported by the AP News, a Los Angeles judge has thrown out a lawsuit by Metrolink engineers objecting to onboard video cameras.
The Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen had argued that the commuter rail system infringed on their due process rights and their privacy by installing cameras to monitor engineers. The rail service said the union failed to demonstrate an invasion of privacy. Metrolink spokeswoman Angela M. Starr said in a release that Superior Court Judge Luis Lavin dismissed the case Thursday.
The cameras were installed after a September 2008 crash that killed 25 people and injured 100 others. Investigators found the engineer was texting at the time and had just run a red light.
Generally, there is no right to privacy in a public place. Though the workplace, such as a cubicle or the cab of a locomotive, may provide some privacy to an employee, the courts generally consider the employer’s legitimate business needs and other factors, such as public safety, in deciding how much privacy there is.
The lesson here is, use common sense. Don’t assume you have any privacy in the workplace unless you are clearly in a private area (ie, a restroom, and even then there are limits).
As for allowing cameras in the locomotive cab, I think that’s an excellent idea.
The Metrolink disaster happened in my neighborhood. I remember the flower memorials and tears after the wreck. Safety is everyone’s business.