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Limits on Surveillance By Employers?

In Colorado, legislation to limit the surveillance of employees who have filed workers’ compensation claims has recently passed a state House committee and is on the way to the state Senate. House Bill 10-1012 would allow surveillance on injured employees only if the employer can present significant evidence that the employee has filed a fraudulent claim.

The question before the Colorado Senate is whether or not surveillance infringes upon employees’ right to privacy. Employers sometimes hire private investigators to obtain video and photographic evidence of an employee after filing a workers’ compensation claim. For example, if the investigator records a video of an employee playing basketball with his friends just after claiming a serious knee injury, the employer would have reason to believe that the employee’s claim was fraudulent.

Rep. Sal Pace (D) believes that recording employees violates their privacy. Opponents of the legislation claim that employees will take advantage of this new law and that Colorado will experience an increase in fraudulent claims.

Under the proposed bill, employees would have the right to question any efforts at surveillance, and employers would be required to respond to any inquiries with sufficient evidence to justify their suspicions.

Those found in violation of the proposed legislation would be subject to a fine of $1,000 per day.

If passed, H.B. 10-1012 will also limit the information that insurance companies can submit in workers’ compensation hearings. This might increase the chances that claims are approved when employees are injured on the job.


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