A ruling by a National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) administrative law judge found the Boeing Co. violated U.S. labor law in 2012 by videotaping union marches at its facilities and barring employees from using personal cameras at work without a special permit. This ruling could have ramifications beyond just this case, which Boeing plans to fight, as it presents a challenge for government on how to address existing laws that don’t take into account today’s digital age and the prevalence of smartphones with cameras that are owned by many employees.

While it is unclear how the five-member NLRB board in Washington, D.C., will react to Judge Gerald Etchingham’s ruling or how it might base future decisions on this ruling, the NLRB has already provided guidance to employers on when they may photograph or videotape employees without running afoul of labor law, experts told Reuters.

In one case at a medical center, the board upheld a photography ban as a means to protect patient privacy. "You can see overwhelming employer justification under certain circumstances for this sort of policy," said Ballard Spahr attorney Steven W. Suflas.

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