In a recent trend, public employees across the country have found themselves the subject of live video and/or audio of them at work. The theory from the videographers (who claim they are performing “First Amendment Audits”) is that public workplaces are legally accessible, and the law as interpreted thus far had largely supported that argument. Some of the videographers have gone further and attempted to goad public employees into negative, even physical, reactions to the filming, and in some now infamous examples, have succeeded.
Accordingly, public employees are encouraged to remain calm in these situations and allow the video and audio in truly public spaces. Meanwhile, one local restriction in Florida banning video and audio recording of anyone at city hall who does not consent has been upheld as enforceable based on it being “reasonable and viewpoint-neutral.” Municipalities in New York may well consider similar restrictions in the coming months and years.